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
Sun, 22 October 2017
Montpellier v Exeter Chiefs 12h00 Altrad Stadium
La Rochelle v Ulster 14h15 Paris
Wasps v Harlequins 16h30 Ricoh Arena
Fri, 27 October 2017
Glasgow Warriors v Kings 18h35 Scotstoun Stadium
Sale Sharks v Exeter Chiefs 18h45 AJ Bell Stadium
Ospreys v Dragons 19h35 Liberty Stadium
Cardiff Blues v Munster 19h35 Sportsground
Sat, 28 October 2017
Australia v Barbarians 04h00 Sydney
Harlequins v Worcester Warriors 14h00 Twickenham
Saracens v London Irish 14h00 Allianz Park
Northampton Saints v Wasps 14h00 Franklin's Gardens
Treviso v Edinburgh 14h00 Stadio Monigo
Sharks v Western Province 15h00 Durban
Ulster v Leinster 17h15 Kingspan Stadium
Scarlets v Cardiff Blues 18h35 Parc y Scarlets
Zebre v Cheetahs 19h00 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 6 0 9 34
Force 15 6 0 9 26
Reds 15 4 0 11 21
Waratahs 15 4 0 11 19
Rebels 15 1 1 13 9
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 15 14 0 1 63
Hurricanes 15 12 0 3 58
Chiefs 15 12 1 2 57
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 51
Blues 15 7 1 7 37
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 0 5 43
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Bulls 15 4 0 11 20
Sunwolves 15 2 0 13 12
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 15 14 0 1 65
Sharks 15 9 1 5 42
Jaguares 15 7 0 8 33
Kings 15 6 0 9 28