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.

SAPA
 

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 09 December 2016
Northampton Saints v Leinster 19h45 Franklin's Gardens
Sat, 10 December 2016
Ulster v Clermont Auvergne 13h00 Kingspan Stadium
Munster v Leicester Tigers 15h15 Thomond Park
Racing Metro v Glasgow Warriors 16h15 Stade Yves-du-Manoir
Saracens v Sale Sharks 17h30 Allianz Park
Zebre v Toulouse 20h45 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Sun, 11 December 2016
Wasps v Connacht 13h00 Ricoh Arena
Montpellier v Castres 14h00 Altrad Stadium
Toulon v Scarlets 16h15 Stade Felix Mayol
Exeter Chiefs v Bordeaux 17h30 Sandy Park
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 10 0 5 43
Waratahs 15 8 0 7 40
Rebels 15 7 0 8 31
Reds 15 3 1 11 17
Force 15 2 0 13 13
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 15 11 0 4 53
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 52
Chiefs 15 11 0 4 51
Crusaders 15 11 0 4 50
Blues 15 8 1 6 39
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 1 4 51
Bulls 15 9 1 5 42
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Sunwolves 15 1 1 13 9
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 14 11 0 3 52
Sharks 15 9 1 5 43
Jaguares 14 3 0 11 18
Kings 15 2 0 13 9