Hard work pays off for Bulls

Sun, 09 Mar 2014 13:16
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Bulls captain Flip van der Merwe pointed to his team's high work rate as the key to their turnaround in form.

Bulls captain Flip van der Merwe pointed to his team's high work rate as the key to their turnaround in form.

The Pretoria side notched their second consecutive victory at Loftus Versfeld as they managed to shut the dangerous Blues down on Saturday, scoring a fourth try in the last minute to secure a valuable bonus point.

The win means that they will go into their first bye as the second-placed team on the South African conference log and fourth overall.

This is especially encouraging given their tough start to the season which saw them go down to the Sharks and Cheetahs before bouncing back to beat the Lions and Blues at home.

Van der Merwe said that the commitment his team showed was crucial to being able to keep the Blues quiet.

“We demanded a work rate from everyone, it is the only way that you win against these guys. Once they (the Blues) get the ball in space and they let run with the ball they are dangerous.

“It was a tremendous effort our guys put in, in the first half it was end to end stuff and you can see at the end both teams were off their feet," he said.

The Bulls skipper said that whilst the win was encouraging, they know that there is still much to improve on with composure something they need to work on.

“We are still striving for the perfect game and tonight was by no means perfect, at certain times we maybe got over excited,” Van der Merwe said.

Coach Frans Ludeke sai that the win was just reward after what was a tough start to the season.

“I thought from the beginning (of the season) we were playing well but we never got the reward,” Ludeke said.

“Our season took off even though we didn't get the results and the last two weeks almost proved that to us.

“There are small things that are working for us and the difference is we are converting, so it was a rewarding win for us against a quality side.”

The Blues demonstrated in their match against the Crusaders that they had the ability to come from behind to secure victory.

The Bulls were leading the visitors 25-12 at the half-time break. The visitors launched a promising fight back effort but the home side did well to avert the threat through a gutsy defensive display.

“The last five minutes also said a lot about the team and how desperately they wanted it when it was not over yet and we kept them out, forced a turnover and we scored that last try,” Ludeke said.

“I thought our set pieces were good and they changed direction a lot to our tight forwards and we made our tackles and forced some turnovers.”

It was the Bulls' senior players who showed real grit throughout the match with the likes of veteran lock Victor Matfield, prop Dean Greyling, Van der Merwe and flanker Deon Stegmann leading the charge.

Their efforts ensured front-foot ball for the backline which saw scrumhalf Francois Hougaard returning to form.

Blues coach John Kirwan admitted his side was outplayed by the Bulls but he also bemoaned the mistakes his charges made.

“I thought we played really well in the second half, we clawed our way back into it, we could have finished a bit better,” Kirwan said.

“When you make too many unforced errors and give away easy tries and penalties then you will always be in trouble especially here.”


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Fri, 09 October 2015
Western Province v EP Kings 16h00 Newlands
Pumas v Blue Bulls 16h00 Mbombela Stadium
New Zealand v Tonga 19h00 Newcastle
Sat, 10 October 2015
Free State Cheetahs v Sharks 12h00 Bloemfontein
Samoa v Scotland 13h30 Newcastle
Golden Lions v Griquas 14h00 Ellis Park
Australia v Wales 15h45 London
England v Uruguay 19h00 Manchester
Sun, 11 October 2015
Argentina v Namibia 11h00 Leicester
Italy v Romania 13h30 Exeter
France v Ireland 15h45 Cardiff
United States v Japan 19h00 Gloucester
Wed, 07 October 2015
Namibia v Georgia 16 | 17
South Africa v United States 64 | 0
Tue, 06 October 2015
Fiji v Uruguay 47 | 15
Canada v Romania 15 | 17
Sun, 04 October 2015
Ireland v Italy 16 | 9
Argentina v Tonga 45 | 16
Zebre v Scarlets 8 | 20
Sat, 03 October 2015
England v Australia 13 | 33
Connacht v Cardiff Blues 36 | 31
South Africa v Scotland 34 | 16
Samoa v Japan 5 | 26
Leinster v Dragons 37 | 13
Griquas v Sharks 20 | 45
Pumas v Free State Cheetahs 37 | 37
Fri, 02 October 2015
New Zealand v Georgia 43 | 10
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 16 11 0 5 52
Brumbies 16 9 0 7 47
Rebels 16 7 0 9 36
Reds 16 4 0 12 22
Force 16 3 0 13 19
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 16 14 0 2 66
Highlanders 16 11 0 5 53
Chiefs 16 10 0 6 48
Crusaders 16 9 0 7 46
Blues 16 3 0 13 20
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 16 10 1 5 45
Lions 16 9 1 6 42
Bulls 16 7 0 9 38
Sharks 16 7 0 9 34
Cheetahs 16 5 0 11 26