Bulls' play-off rehearsal

Sun, 07 Jul 2013 10:56
Large vermaak arms up630 Large bulls v sharks2 Large bulls v sharks

The Bulls' tense victory over a determined Sharks side was ideal preparation for what they can expect in the Super Rugby playoffs.

The Bulls' tense victory over a determined Sharks side was ideal preparation for what they can expect in the Super Rugby playoffs.

The Pretoria-based side nearly came unstuck against the coastal side but the 20-19 victory at Loftus Versfeld launched them into the first place on the overall log.

The Bulls are two points clear of the Chiefs at the top of the standings and could consolidate their position with a victory over the Stormers in their final round-robin match in Cape Town next week.

Bulls captain Dewald Potgieter was visibly relieved and said his team had used their "get-out-of-jail card" against the Sharks.

"It was intense but I just want to take a step back and say hats off to our guys for keeping composure and showing some resilience," Potgieter said.

"The bounce of the ball and one or two calls went against us but they really stood up and this was a big win for us."

The Bulls left it late for the slender victory and also got the rub of the green as Sharks fullback Riaan Viljoen missed with his penalty conversion attempt with two minutes left on the clock.

The scoreline was also coincidentally the same as the two sides' 2007 Super Rugby Final when the Bulls claimed the title in the dying moments of that match.

The Bulls trailed the visitors 19-13 until replacement scrumhalf Jano Vermaak scored the decider with flyhalf Morne Steyn converting for the lead with eight minutes to spare.

Bulls coach Frans Ludeke commended his charges for grinding out the victory.

"We had a lot of opportunities but we didn't finish them off in the first half and we just kept going," Ludeke said.

"Credit to the leaders on the field and for the way the players just stuck together and pulled it off in the end.

"That is the kind of character you need in this final phase."

The home side were severely penalised by referee Jason Jaftha particularly at the breakdowns, while the Sharks went relatively unpunished in this facet of the game.

Potgieter said they would determine what they did wrong during their review of the match and remedy the problem as soon as possible.

"A lot it came down to the breakdown and how it was refereed tonight and we needed to make an adjustments," he said.

"The breakdown is one of the biggest parts of the game these days and maybe we sometimes went in there with reckless abandon.

"It is a good learning school for the guys to see that sometimes the interpretation is going against you and then you need to adjust from that."

He said the team adjusted in this area of play by committing less players in the breakdown with more staying on their feet and find other ways of forcing the turnovers.

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 28 April 2017
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 Blues 19h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 30 April 2017
Brumbies v Blues 06h05 Canberra
Fri, 05 May 2017
Hurricanes v Stormers 07h35 Westpac Stadium
RESULT SCORE
Fri, 28 April 2017
Highlanders v Stormers 57 | 14
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
Northampton Saints v Saracens 25 | 27
Bristol v Wasps 21 | 36
Sat, 15 April 2017
Connacht v Leinster 24 | 37
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 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 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