Battered Bulls still have hope

Sun, 22 Sep 2013 15:13
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Blue Bulls captain Jono Ross believes his team will still make the semifinals despite their 26-35 loss to the Golden Lions at Ellis Park on Saturday.

Blue Bulls captain Jono Ross believes his team will still make the Currie Cup semifinals despite their 26-35 loss to the Golden Lions at Ellis Park on Saturday leaving them with just two wins from seven matches.

The Bulls are in fifth place on the log, just a point ahead of the last-placed Griquas, and they trail the Free State Cheetahs in fourth by five points.

"I still believe we're going to make the semifinals but we just have to stop playing against ourselves," Ross said.

"Again we played with 14 men for 20 minutes and our discipline let us down. It's frustrating speaking about the same things every week, but the same things are going wrong.

"The one positive is the way we played in the last 10 minutes, to come back and get a bonus point showed a lot of guts and it gives us hope."

He added: “Fair play to the Lions, they came out and ran us off our feet. They have a quality side and we just weren’t up to standard.

“When we started running at them we got some reward and I think Bjorn Basson showed his quality tonight.”

Ross added that they now face a do-or-die away assignment against Griquas next weekend.

“Playing down in Kimberley everyone knows is tough but we’ve got to get ourselves up again. It’s another week and it’s going to be a massive game for us. They’re a quality outfit, especially at home, so it’s back to the drawing board on Monday and we have to give it horns on Saturday.”

Bulls coach Pine Pienaar pointed out that the bonus point left his team just five points behind the Cheetahs, a deficit they can make up in one weekend.

“That bonus point we got at the end is vital for us. We’re just five points adrift from the guys lying in fourth so there’s still a bit of hope and something to play for.”

He lamented the two yellow cards in the first half that meant his team were chasing the game practically from the outset.

Fullback Clayton Blommetjies was yellow-carded in the 19th minute for a trip, while flyhalf Tony Jantjies followed him to the sin-bin 13 minutes later after handling the ball in a ruck on his own try-line.

"We put pressure on ourselves because of our discipline," Pienaar said.

"When you give away penalties, you lose territory and momentum, but I was encouraged by the last 10 minutes."

He added that the match would serve as another learning curve for the young side and felt a lot of their defensive problems came down to the players’ inexperience at Currie Cup level.  

“Their wide attacking structure worked well for them but tonight a lot of times they got in behind us in the 15 metres and that’s something we have to address,” said Pienaar.

“A couple of times we were man-on-man but we didn’t go hard off the line, but that’s the only way you’re going to learn. We’re playing guys that’s 22, 21 years old and they have to pick that up.”  

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