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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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 24 February 2017
Highlanders v Chiefs 06h35 Dunedin
Reds v Sharks 09h00 Brisbane
Harlequins v Leicester Tigers 17h45 Twickenham Stoop
Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues 19h05 Myreside
Dragons v Leinster 19h30 Rodney Parade
Munster v Scarlets 19h35 Thomond Park
Sat, 25 February 2017
Sunwolves v Hurricanes 04h15 Tokyo
Crusaders v Brumbies 06h35 Christchurch
Waratahs v Force 08h45 Allianz Park
Saracens v Sale Sharks 12h45 Allianz Park
Northampton Saints v Worcester Warriors 13h00 Franklin's Gardens
Exeter Chiefs v Newcastle Falcons 13h00 Sandy Park
Cheetahs v Lions 13h05 Bloemfontein
Scotland v Wales 14h25 BT Murrayfield
Kings v Jaguares 15h15 Port Elizabeth
Ireland v France 16h50 Aviva Stadium
Stormers v Bulls 17h30 Cape Town
Sun, 26 February 2017
Bristol v Bath 11h00 Ashton Gate
Treviso v Connacht 12h30 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Wasps v Gloucester 12h30 Ricoh Arena
Zebre v Ulster 12h30 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors 13h05 Liberty Stadium
England v Italy 15h00 Twickenham Stadium
Mon, 27 February 2017
UCT-Ikeys v Maties 14h45 Cape Town
CUT-Ixias v UJ 16h30 Bloemfontein
Rhodes v Fort Hare 16h30 Grahamstown
CPUT v UKZN-Impi 16h30 Cape Town
UWC v TUT 16h30 Cape Town
UP-Tuks v Wits 16h30 Pretoria
Shimlas v NWU-Pukke 17h00 Bloemfontein
Thu, 02 March 2017
Force v Reds 10h30 Perth
RESULT SCORE
Thu, 23 February 2017
Rebels v Blues 18 | 56
Tue, 21 February 2017
CUT-Ixias v Shimlas 13 | 22
Mon, 20 February 2017
UJ v UP-Tuks 18 | 11
UKZN-Impi v Fort Hare 16 | 10
Maties v NMMU-Madibaz 35 | 16
UWC v Rhodes 88 | 8
TUT v WSU 13 | 17
NWU-Pukke v UCT-Ikeys 20 | 15
Sun, 19 February 2017
Newcastle Falcons v Northampton Saints 46 | 31
Sale Sharks v Wasps 34 | 28
Sat, 18 February 2017
Connacht v Dragons 14 | 9
Ospreys v Munster 23 | 25
Leicester Tigers v Bristol 50 | 17
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 37 | 17
Bath v Harlequins 22 | 12
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 0 0 0 0 0
Waratahs 0 0 0 0 0
Reds 0 0 0 0 0
Force 0 0 0 0 0
Rebels 1 0 0 1 0
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Blues 1 1 0 0 5
Hurricanes 0 0 0 0 0
Highlanders 0 0 0 0 0
Chiefs 0 0 0 0 0
Crusaders 0 0 0 0 0
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 0 0 0 0 0
Bulls 0 0 0 0 0
Cheetahs 0 0 0 0 0
Sunwolves 0 0 0 0 0
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 0 0 0 0 0
Sharks 0 0 0 0 0
Jaguares 0 0 0 0 0
Kings 0 0 0 0 0