Away victories now crucial for Bulls

Sun, 20 Aug 2017 10:47
Large nollis marais bulls glares 800

CURRIE CUP REACTION: Blue Bulls head coach Nollis Marais believes his side is in a do-or-die predicament after their 40-41 defeat at the hands of the Free State Cheetahs at Loftus Versfeld.

The Blue Bulls have now lost three consecutive matches - two at home. Marais believes they should have won those two home matches and will now have to bag a few away victories to remain in touch with the log leaders.

"We are seven points off the pace [behind leaders the Cheetahs], so we will now have to win some away matches. Losing two home matches that we should have and could have won is not acceptable. We can't afford to drop any points down the line and have to start winning the close matches.

"We can attack but we can't defend like we have. At 40-31 [ahead], we should have killed the game," Marais said.

Marais identified the ease at which the Cheetahs broke the gain line as a crucial area that cost the Bulls dearly.

"We allowed them to break the line too easily and then we started those chip kicks which gave the ball to Rosco Speckman and [Makazole] Mapimpi, which was never the plan. [When you do that], you are in trouble cause they are quick. 

"It's fine to score 40 points but when you leak more points, we just lost again because of that," he added.

Blue Bulls captain Burger Odendaal focused on his side's ability to rack up yellow cards.

"We are making it difficult for ourselves with all the yellow cards we are getting week in and week out. That's the next thing we need to focus on, we can't go into a game and get two or more cards and still expect to win," Odendaal said.

Despite the negatives, Marais made special mention of Jamba Ulengo and debutant Janco Venter.

"Jamba played a lot better than last week. In the first half he chipped ahead when he shouldn't have but he saved two or three tries and showed how fast he is. He is getting into his best form again. 

"Janco did well for his first game, despite making one or two defensive errors but that is expected in your first game for another team as you try to adapt to the new system," Marais said.

@rugby365com

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Fri, 29 September 2017
Sharks v Golden Lions 17h00 Durban
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Sat, 30 September 2017
Griquas v Free State Cheetahs 12h00 Kimberley
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Sun, 01 October 2017
Argentina v New Zealand 22h30 Estadio Jose Amalfitani
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CURRIE CUP
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Team P W D L Pts
Sharks 10 9 0 1 43
Free State Cheetahs 9 6 0 3 30
Western Province 9 5 0 4 27
Golden Lions 9 4 0 5 25
Pumas 10 4 0 6 24
Blue Bulls 9 3 0 6 20
Griquas 10 2 0 8 16