Bulls looking to 'take control'

Tue, 27 Aug 2013 13:48
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Blue Bulls coach Pine Pienaar admitted that his team learnt some 'expensive' lessons in their heavy hammering at the hands of the Golden Lions.

Blue Bulls coach Pine Pienaar admitted that his team learnt some 'expensive' lessons in their heavy hammering at the hands of the Golden Lions last week, an experience they have to put in the memory bank.

Having gone to school on last week's eight-try (62-23) rout, Pienaar said his charges will have to  "take charge" of proceedings when they take on the high-flying Sharks in Durban in a Round Four Currie Cup match on Saturday.

As any coach will tell you, it is "always" tough to go down to Durban.

While the Sharks may have struggled in the first round, the last two weeks they got some good wins under the belt - against the Lions and Free State Cheetahs.

"They also have a new coaching panel and will grow as the season goes on, so it is going to be tough in Durban this week," Pienaar said, when asked about his team's prospects of bouncing back from last week's demoralising loss.

"However, what we must focus on, is fixing up all those errors that cost us so dearly against the Lions.

"We have to control the game," Pienaar said, adding: "On the 45-minute mark we were leading 23-20 against the Lions and we lost 23-62.

"That is where certain inexperienced players in certain positions must ensure they get through this and take control of the game - that is what I would like to see."

While the Bulls had more freedom on attack this season, Pienaar felt the decision-making has not always matches up to the desired standards.

"Where we should have attacked [against the Lions], we sometimes kicked, or when the situation called for a tactical kick we kept the ball in hand.

"Against the Sharks we need to ensure our set pieces are spot on - our scrums and line-outs.

"The Sharks are also good at rolling mauls and the Lions put us under pressure with two mauls that resulted in tries - we have to ensure we are better with those.

"Then we need to get more room on attack and attack the space with ball in hand."

Pienaar also spoke of how the Bulls put themselves under pressure with unnecessary mistakes, especially at the breakdown where they gifted the Lions too many chances.

"Also, our discipline was poor," the Bulls mentor said, adding: "Although we only conceded 11 penalties, it was the times and the places where we conceded those penalties that put us under pressure.

"The Lions got a lot of momentum from their rolling mauls [which came after those penalties], especially when we were putting them under pressure it allowed them to put us back under pressure.

"In that last half-hour we gifted them far too many soft tries. When the score started to balloon and we chased the game, the more mistakes we made and the more they benefited from those.

"It was an expensive lesson to learn, but it was already Round Three and we have to ensure we improve dramatically on our performance against the Lions."

Another factor that cost the Bulls was injuries,

They flyhalf Tony Jantjies inside the first half-hour and Travis Ismaiel also left the field in the first half.

The reshuffle caused major disruptions - with Ulrich Beyers at fullback and Jürgen Visser at flyhalf for almost an hour.

Also, the yellow card of Morné Mellett [in the 50th minute] cost us dearly,"Pienaar said.

"In the time that he was off they put 21 points on the board - that is unacceptable. Also, to concede eight tries is also unacceptable to us.

"Those are not the standards we set for ourselves,"he added.

By Jan de Koning

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Team P W D L Pts
Sharks 12 10 0 2 47
Western Province 12 7 0 5 37
Golden Lions 12 6 0 6 35
Blue Bulls 12 5 0 7 32
Free State Cheetahs 12 6 0 6 31
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