Bulls can shift up a gear

Sun, 18 Sep 2016 15:16
Large blue bulls v griquas 2016 800

REACTION: Blue Bulls head coach Nollis Marais believes that his team is finding form at the right time, having won three matches on the trot in this year's Currie Cup Premier Division tournament. 

The Bulls followed up their victories over the Golden Lions and the Pumas in the last two weeks with a 57-20 bonus-point win over the Griquas in Pretoria on Friday.

Speaking to reporters at the post-match press conference on Friday, Marais said that his team is playing with plenty of confidence at the moment, but stressed that the Bulls are not yet the finished product.

"The thing about the team for me is that they must believe in what we do and just play. 

"The mistakes will come, but it's about how you adapt from those mistakes and how you manage the game. Game management is very important.

"We play good teams in the semifinal and final and those are the things that are going to hurt you, but the guys are playing well, they’ve got confidence in the side now at the moment and they are buying into it [game plan]. You can see it.

Marais added that the Bulls are starting to show their composure with regards to converting their opportunities into points and making the right decisions with ball in hand and on defence. 

"I think we playing good rugby at the moment and that's more important. 

"If you want to win this competition there's certain things you have to look at.

"I think set pieces is going to be important and conversion rates for all the chances you have and I think now we are getting better at that every week.
"In the beginning we played well, but our conversion rate was not good and we also leaked tries and I think our defence is quite good as well," said Marais.

The Bulls have conceded points throughout the season towards the latter stages of matches when they tend to give players off their bench a run.

Marais added that he would like the substitutes to make a bigger impact on the match.

"Maybe when we make substitutions there is a bit of a dip and then they score against us, but that's something we need to fix as well, because the guys that we brought on as substitutions are first choice players that are recovering from injury. I just don’t like the dip that we get, so that's something that we have to look out for," explained Marais.

The Blue Bulls currently sit in third place on the Currie Cup Premier Division table, with 25 points from seven matches played, which includes five wins and two defeats.

The Bulls play their final match of the regular Currie Cup Premier Division season against the Boland Cavaliers in Wellington next week and a victory in this clash would ensure that they qualify for the Currie Cup semifinals. 

By Josh Isaacson

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Team P W D L Pts
Free State Cheetahs 8 8 0 0 39
Blue Bulls 8 6 0 2 30
Western Province 8 5 0 3 27
Golden Lions 8 5 0 3 26
Sharks 8 5 0 3 25
Griquas 8 4 0 4 21
Boland 8 2 0 6 11
Pumas 8 1 0 7 10
EP Kings 8 0 0 8 1