Bulls have the right 'attitude'
REACTION: Blue Bulls coach Nollis Marais believes his team has the right "attitude" heading into the latter half of the Currie Cup season.
The Bulls are well-entrenched in third place in the Currie Cup standings, following their 31-17 win over the Lions in the Round Give match in Pretoria at the weekend.
The Bulls outscored the Lions by three tries to two and Marais said that he was proud of the "commitment" and "attitude" shown by the players.
"For us, it was important to come back and show there is a belief in this team and Loftus is a tough place to win," Marais told a post-match media briefing, adding that for four weeks they struggled to put things together.
"It was a great team effort to get the win and [the] four points against the defending champions," he said of his team's effort at Loftus Versfeld this past Friday.
"It was important for us."
Marais said he was concerned that the Bulls were leaking too many tries - having let in 15 tries in the first three matches.
"Last week was better," he said of a 19-26 loss to the Sharks in Durban where they conceded just two tries, adding: "And this week was much better [against conceding just two tries]. -
"We stopped them [the Lions] a few times on the line. The guys were up for it.
"We still made mistakes but the attitude was there. The scrums were better and the line-outs were much better.
"I think the intent was much better and there is a lot of things we can still work on.
"We still did things that put us under pressure, but we fought back and that is what I like," he said about his team's attitude.
Bulls captain Arno Botha also spoke about the team's newfound desire.
"Like coach Nollis [Marais] said, we can't afford to keep getting beaten at Loftus," Botha said.
"The Lions have done well the past two years and this [result] was very good for our confidence.
"It's still necessary to keep our feet on the ground and prepare for the next game.
"We must approach the next game with the same focus and attitude that we had against the Lions," Botha added.
Marais added that the Bulls can still improve their attacking game and be more clinical with ball in hand.
He also felt the team's "game management" requires fine-tuning, as poor decision-making cost them at times.
"We attacked in the first half and we were not accurate. It got better in the second half but I think if we can fix that.
"If we can fix those errors, we will be much better because not all the teams are going to give you that many opportunities and we must be better at that."
The Bulls next travel to Nelspruit, where they will face the Pumas this coming Saturday.
Marais said the team will look to take their form on the road.
"I am not worried about playing away," he said.
"I think against the Sharks [19-26 defeat in Durban] we were good.
"I think two incidents didn't go our way, which perhaps changed the game.
"The only poor game we had was against the Cheetahs away this year [a 20-43 defeat].
"The Cheetahs in Super Rugby we went there and beat them.
"I think the guys are good enough to play anywhere and it's about limiting mistakes," explained Marais.
By Josh Isaacson