One bad day does not a winter make

Thu, 27 Jun 2013 18:18
Large werner kruger bulls scrum Large chiliboy ralepelle bulls sc Large dean greyling bulls scrum

The Bulls scrum may be seen as the team's soft underbelly, but the men from Pretoria are by no means weak in the set pieces.

The Bulls have been heavily penalised at scrum time in certain games, but the pace-setters in the South African Super Rugby conference are not nearly as bad as some pundits have suggested.

In fact, while the Bulls have run foul of referees in some matches, their props are not penalised nearly as often as those of other teams - especially in the scrums.

Bulls coach Frans Ludeke readily admits that his team has had some "bad days" at the office - such as their most recent outing, a 30-25 win over the Cheetahs just before the June break.

Prop Dean Greyling was penalised four times, as the Cheetahs dominated the scrums in the first half.

However, despite the perception that the Bulls transgress the most at scrum time, not one of their props are even in the top 10 of the most penalised front row forwards in Super Rugby.

Top of that dubious list of most penalised props is the Crusaders' All Black Wyatt Crockett, who has already conceded 27 penalties - more than half at scrum time.

He is followed by Greg Holmes (Reds - 23), Steven Kitshoff (Stormers - 20), Ben Franks (Hurricanes - 19), Ben Alexander (Brumbies - 18), Schalk Ferreira (Kings - 17), Laurie Weeks (Rebels - 15), Angus Ta'avao (Blues - 14), Ben Tameifuna (Chiefs - 14) and Coenraad Oosthuizen (Cheetahs - 14).

The Bulls - who face the Southern Kings in Pretoria on Saturday, when the Super Rugby season resumes after the June break - have worked hard on ensuring they are not on the receiving end of the referee's whistle again.

"We have great players, guys in every position who have succeeded at the highest level," Ludeke told this website, when asked about the perception that his team is a weak scrummaging unit.

"It is sometimes just a matter of concentration and that goes from No.1 to No.8," the Bulls mentor said, adding: "They must all be focussed and accurate in each and every scrum.

"That [concentration] has cost us at times.

"The referees have taken a much tougher stance when things are not working [at scrum time] and that is the right way to go, because we are getting a better shape in the game."

Ludeke said the Bulls have to make the adjustment when referees rule a specific way in a match.

"We are prepared to do that, we know where to make those changes," he told this website.

"Certainly it is just a concentration issue and one or two games where we did not have a good day at the office.

"We accept that those [performances] were simply not good enough."

The Bulls coach said he is confident that those bad days will not result in a bad season, where scrum penalties cost them a crucial game.

By Jan de Koning

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 28 April 2017
Highlanders v Stormers 07h35 Dunedin
Cardiff Blues v Zebre 18h05 Cardiff
Edinburgh v Dragons 18h35 Myreside
Leinster v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 RDS Arena
Newcastle Falcons v Worcester Warriors 19h00 Kingston Park
Sat, 29 April 2017
Chiefs v Sunwolves 07h35 Hamilton
Reds v Waratahs 09h45 Suncorp Stadium
Force v Lions 11h55 Perth
Ospreys v Ulster 14h00 Liberty Stadium
Bath v Gloucester 14h00 Recreation Ground
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints 14h00 Sandy Park
Saracens v Bristol 14h00 Allianz Park
Harlequins v Wasps 14h00 Twickenham Stoop
Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks 14h00 Welford Road
Cheetahs v Crusaders 15h15 Bloemfontein
Treviso v Munster 17h05 Stadio Monigo
Kings v Rebels 17h30 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Connacht v Scarlets 18h35 Sportsground
Jaguares v Sharks 19h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 30 April 2017
Brumbies v Blues 06h05 Canberra
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 23 April 2017
Clermont Auvergne v Leinster 27 | 22
Sat, 22 April 2017
Sharks v Rebels 9 | 9
Bulls v Cheetahs 20 | 14
Munster v Saracens 10 | 26
Force v Chiefs 7 | 16
Crusaders v Stormers 57 | 24
Highlanders v Sunwolves 40 | 15
Fri, 21 April 2017
Lions v Jaguares 24 | 21
Waratahs v Kings 24 | 26
Hurricanes v Brumbies 56 | 21
Mon, 17 April 2017
UP-Tuks v Maties 28 | 21
Sun, 16 April 2017
Bristol v Wasps 21 | 36
Northampton Saints v Saracens 25 | 27
Sat, 15 April 2017
Connacht v Leinster 24 | 37
Treviso v Edinburgh 21 | 6
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 8 3 0 5 17
Reds 8 2 0 6 10
Force 7 2 0 5 9
Waratahs 8 2 0 6 9
Rebels 7 1 1 5 7
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 8 8 0 0 36
Hurricanes 8 7 0 1 33
Chiefs 8 7 0 1 33
Highlanders 8 5 0 3 23
Blues 8 3 0 5 17
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 8 6 0 2 26
Bulls 8 3 0 5 14
Cheetahs 8 2 0 6 10
Sunwolves 8 1 0 7 5
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 8 7 0 1 32
Sharks 8 5 1 2 24
Jaguares 8 4 0 4 20
Kings 8 2 0 6 10