Matfield mastermind in Bulls revival

Sun, 23 Mar 2014 12:00
Large victor matfield bulls gestu

Bulls coach Frans Ludeke said that a few key ajustments made by Victor Matfield have been central to their recent success.

Bulls coach Frans Ludeke said that a few key ajustments made by Victor Matfield have been central to their recent success.

The Bulls beat the Sharks in their return match at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday, handing the visitors their first defeat of the season.

When the two sides met in the first round of the competition in Durban, the Bulls were convincingly beaten by their coastal rivals.

Ludeke said that the difference had been a few tactical changes made by Springbok veteran Matfield who was the team's attack coach before making a return to the playing field.

"A lot of things we worked on over the last few weeks came through. Victor made a few smart adjustments to our attack in the week and it paid off for us today," he said.

The victory was affirmation to the Bulls coach that his side was on the right track as they cemented their place among the top sides in the competition with only five points separating them from the log-leading Sharks.

"If you get a win against the Sharks, the way we played, it is a good reward for us and playing against a side that is on top of their game," Ludeke said after the match.

Matfield, who took over the captaincy after lock partner Flip van der Merwe, was ruled out due to a hamstring strain on Friday, lead a spirited Bulls pack.

The return of former Bulls captain Dewald Potgieter to the side also added a new dimension to the side as he formed a handy trio with Deon Stegmann and Jacques du Plessis.

The 20-year-old Du Plessis is clearly coming into his own as he was again valuable with ball in hand and defensively.

Stegmann and Potgieter were equally impressive with the former terrorising the Sharks at the breakdown area.

The Bulls lay down the gauntlet after the restart with Du Plessis breaking through a tackle in the 47 minute to score, with flyhalf Jacques-Louis Potgieter converting to level the scores on 13-13.

"We felt at half-time we created opportunities that we didn't use, we gave away soft penalties that kept them in front," Matfield said.

"But 20 minutes into the second half we were good and we can take a lot out of that, there are still a lot of mistakes but we are a work in progress."

Matfield said the secret to beating the Sharks brimming with Springbok players was the fact that they aimed at playing as a unit instead on relying on individual stars.

"Against the Blues we were very happy about how we played, tonight we always knew it would be tough because the Sharks are a very good team, they haven't lost yet," he said.

"We really had to fight till the end with 23 guys giving their best, playing for each other and really showing great commitment out there."

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Sat, 27 May 2017
Sunwolves v Cheetahs 05h15 Tokyo
Highlanders v Waratahs 07h35 Dunedin
Rebels v Crusaders 09h45 Melbourne
Bulls v Hurricanes 13h05 Loftus Versfeld
Wasps v Exeter Chiefs 13h30 London
Sharks v Stormers 15h15 Kings Park
Munster v Scarlets 17h15 Dublin
Jaguares v Brumbies 21h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 28 May 2017
Lions v Kings 12h30 Ellis Park Stadium
Wed, 31 May 2017
New Zealand U20 v Scotland U20 07h00 AIA Arena
England U20 v Samoa U20 07h00 Tbilisi
South Africa U20 v France U20 09h30 Tbilisi
Ireland U20 v Italy U20 09h30 AIA Arena
Argentina U20 v Georgia U20 12h00 Tbilisi
Australia U20 v Wales U20 14h30 Tbilisi
Fri, 02 June 2017
Blues v Reds 07h35 Auckland
RESULT SCORE
Fri, 26 May 2017
Reds v Force 26 | 40
Blues v Chiefs 16 | 16
Sun, 21 May 2017
Waratahs v Rebels 50 | 23
Sat, 20 May 2017
Kings v Brumbies 10 | 19
Munster v Ospreys 23 | 3
Wasps v Leicester Tigers 21 | 20
Lions v Bulls 51 | 14
Exeter Chiefs v Saracens 18 | 16
Sunwolves v Sharks 17 | 38
Force v Highlanders 6 | 55
Hurricanes v Cheetahs 61 | 7
Fri, 19 May 2017
Leinster v Scarlets 15 | 27
Stormers v Blues 30 | 22
Chiefs v Crusaders 24 | 31
Sat, 13 May 2017
Jaguares v Force 6 | 16
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 11 4 0 7 23
Waratahs 11 4 0 7 19
Force 12 4 0 8 17
Reds 12 3 0 9 16
Rebels 11 1 1 9 8
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 12 12 0 0 54
Chiefs 12 9 1 2 45
Hurricanes 11 9 0 2 43
Highlanders 12 9 0 3 41
Blues 13 6 1 6 33
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 11 7 0 4 30
Bulls 11 3 0 8 15
Cheetahs 12 2 0 10 11
Sunwolves 11 1 0 10 7
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 12 11 0 1 51
Sharks 12 8 1 3 38
Jaguares 11 5 0 6 24
Kings 11 4 0 7 19