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, 27 May 2016
Boland v Eagles 13h00 Wellington
Free State Cheetahs v Pumas 13h00 Bloemfontein
Border v Falcons 17h00 East London
Kings v Jaguares 17h00 Ascoli Piceno
Sat, 28 May 2016
Blues v Crusaders 07h35 Eden Park
Brumbies v Sunwolves 09h40 Canberra
Western Province v Griquas 10h15 Newlands
Blue Bulls v Leopards 12h15 Loftus Versfeld
Golden Lions v EP Kings 13h00 Johannesburg
Stormers v Cheetahs 13h00 DHL Newlands
Namibia v Griffons 13h00 Windhoek
Saracens v Exeter Chiefs 14h00 London
Bulls v Lions 15h05 Loftus Versfeld
Connacht v Leinster 16h30 Edinburgh
Sun, 29 May 2016
Rebels v Force 06h05 Melbourne
England v Wales 14h00 London
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 12 7 0 5 34
Brumbies 11 7 0 4 29
Rebels 10 5 0 5 23
Reds 13 3 1 9 16
Force 11 2 0 9 11
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Chiefs 12 9 0 3 42
Crusaders 11 9 0 2 41
Hurricanes 12 8 0 4 40
Highlanders 12 8 0 4 38
Blues 11 6 1 4 29
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Bulls 11 7 1 3 32
Stormers 11 6 1 4 32
Cheetahs 11 3 0 8 16
Sunwolves 11 1 1 9 9
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 11 8 0 3 37
Sharks 12 7 1 4 35
Jaguares 11 2 0 9 13
Kings 11 1 0 10 4