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."

SAPA

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Tue, 21 February 2017
CUT-Ixias v Shimlas 11h00 Bloemfontein
Thu, 23 February 2017
Rebels v Blues 08h45 Melbourne
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
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 10 0 5 43
Waratahs 15 8 0 7 40
Rebels 15 7 0 8 31
Reds 15 3 1 11 17
Force 15 2 0 13 13
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 15 11 0 4 53
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 52
Chiefs 15 11 0 4 51
Crusaders 15 11 0 4 50
Blues 15 8 1 6 39
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 1 4 51
Bulls 15 9 1 5 42
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Sunwolves 15 1 1 13 9
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 14 11 0 3 52
Sharks 15 9 1 5 43
Jaguares 14 3 0 11 18
Kings 15 2 0 13 9