'All we ask for is consistency'

Fri, 29 Mar 2013 10:12
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Referees came under the spotlight for all the wrong reasons last week, but the Bulls are focussing on themselves rather than worry about match officials.

Referees came under the spotlight for all the wrong reasons last week, but the Bulls are focussing on themselves rather than worry about match officials.

Despite being at the wrong end of a few questionable calls - including what many refereeing experts believe was a big mistake when Lionel Mapoe was yellow carded for a tackle - in their heartbreaking loss to the Reds, the Bulls are determined to end their Australasian tour on a winning note when they face the table-topping Brumbies on Saturday.

And to avoid falling foul of the referee again, Bulls captain Pierre Spies believes discipline will be vital against the Jake White-coached home team.

"The players in the squad all understand the importance of this game," Spies said in a interview from the team's base in Canberra.

After an impressive start to the four-match expedition, when they smashed the Blues in Auckland, the Bulls were outplayed by a determined Crusaders outfit and then edged by the Reds in a heartbreaking loss last week.

"The spirit in the team is still very positive," Spies said, adding: "We knew from the outset it was going to be tough.

"Last week we weren't playing at our best, but we were still in the game right to the last minute.

"This weekend is another opportunity for us to go onto the field and do what we are good at - we want to score some tries, we want to have an efficient game."

Asked about a number of the questionable calls that went against them last week, Spies confirmed that they are following the normal process in dealing with those.

"We have chatted to [SANZAR Game Manager] Lyndon Bray and we are awaiting some answers," Spies said.

"However, you have to take every weekend as it comes and adjust.

"All we ask for is consistency in what the referees do."

The Bulls captain said that last week is behind them now and they are focussing on a new game with a new referee.

While he readily acknowledges the qualities of the Australian conference leaders, the Brumbies, Spies said it is about the 80 minutes on the pitch.

"Ball retention is very important, you simply can't play without the ball," he said, when asked about what aspects will be key for the Bulls.

"You need to get momentum so you can build some pressure.

"It is something we struggled with against the Reds and one of our focus points this week is to get it right against a very good Brumbies team."

He said they owe their supporters and themselves a big game after the last two defeats.

"They [the Brumbies] are tough opposition, but we are a quality outfit and this is another opportunity to go do what we enjoy.

"It will be great if we can finish the tour on a high, with a win.

"We have put the past three weeks behind us. We are planning to have an efficient and successful 80 minutes on Saturday."

By Jan de Koning

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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 8 3 0 5 17
Waratahs 9 3 0 6 13
Reds 9 2 0 7 11
Force 8 2 0 6 9
Rebels 8 1 1 6 7
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 9 9 0 0 41
Chiefs 9 8 0 1 37
Hurricanes 8 7 0 1 33
Highlanders 9 6 0 3 28
Blues 8 3 0 5 17
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 9 6 0 3 26
Bulls 8 3 0 5 14
Cheetahs 9 2 0 7 10
Sunwolves 9 1 0 8 6
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 9 8 0 1 37
Sharks 9 6 1 2 28
Jaguares 9 4 0 5 20
Kings 9 3 0 6 15