Bulls bemoan 'lost' points

Sun, 30 Mar 2014 15:20
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The Bulls' 34-all draw with defending Super Rugby champions, the Chiefs, was akin to defeat.

The Bulls' 34-all draw with defending Super Rugby champions, the Chiefs, was akin to defeat.

This is the view of stand-in captain Victor Matfield, after his side squandered a 16-point lead by conceding three tries in the final 10 minutes in Pretoria at the weekend.

The hosts allowed the Chiefs to secure the draw at Loftus Versfeld, by letting in two late tries - in the 77th and 79th minutes.

"Anything else than a victory at home feels like a loss," Matfield told a post-match media briefing.

"We'll take the two points [for the draw], as it is against the defending champions, but we should have had five," Matfield said.

"With 25 minutes to go at altitude we should have done better."

The Bulls were listless in the first half compared to a spirited Chiefs side that pounced on all the turnover ball that came their way, through mistakes by the home side.

The tourists held a 15-14 lead going into the half-time break and were unlucky not to have enjoyed a larger advantage.

The Bulls, however, arose from their first-half slumber to dominate the Chiefs in the half-hour after the break.

The home side scored three tries –which included a penalty try – to secure a 16-point lead.

Three tries in the last 10 minutes saw the Chiefs secure three points from the match for scoring five tries, while the Bulls were left with only two.

The Chiefs are in third place on the overall Super Rugby standings with 17 points, while the Bulls are in seventh place only a point adrift of the New Zealand side.

"It was there for the taking, I thought we played well the 30 minutes after half-time, where we were on top of the Chiefs, we scored some lovely tries and built an innings," said Bulls coach Frans Ludeke.

"But credit to them for the way they came back at us, to score those two tries, they worked hard for it."

In the build-up to the match, the Bulls cautioned against giving the Chiefs turnover ball, but it proved easier said than done in the clash.

The visitors' opening two tries came off turnover ball and Matfield admitted his side gave the Chiefs too much possession.

"We actually gave them too much ball to play from, I think if we held on to the ball a bit more, we could have put them under pressure more we should have got that fourth try," he said of the final 10 minutes of the clash.

"With six minutes to go we went for poles, which if you think about it maybe if we went for the corner and kept them in their half and score a try it would have been game over.

"In that last 15 minutes we weren't accurate enough, on attack we didn't build more than three phases and lost the ball and we made silly mistakes on defence."

The Bulls will be hoping for a better tour than last year when they only managed a victory in their first match against the Blues.

They will face the Hurricanes, Highlanders, Waratahs and Force on their tour.

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Team P W D L Pts
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Waratahs 13 4 0 9 19
Force 13 4 0 9 17
Reds 13 3 0 10 17
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Team P W D L Pts
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Hurricanes 14 11 0 3 54
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Kings 12 4 0 8 19