Mitchell harsh on Blue Bulls wings

Sun, 03 Sep 2017 13:22

REACTION: Despite breaking a five-match losing streak, Blue Bulls coach John Mitchell is not impressed with his wings’ dismal defensive display.

The Blue Bulls’ narrow 44-42 win over the Griquas made sure the side kept their play-off alive as they leapfrogged to third in the Currie Cup table.   

Griquas outscored the hosts six tries to five, however, a successful penalty by Tony Jantjies proved to be a crucial feature in securing the win.

"We didn’t really defend sharp enough but I have faith we can change that.

"One thing is for sure, the wings have to start sticking to their opposition and start to defend – which I know is something new for the South African wings," Mitchell told reporters after the match.

Both wings Rabs Maxwane and Duncan Matthews returned to the starting XV after recovering from injuries, respectively. 

However, the mentor refused to make any excuses, explaining: "When your wings don’t stick to the plan, it can be a really problematic.

"Everybody have to start contributing, we have been making excuses for too long at Loftus,"  

It was not all doom and gloom, the mentor managed to find some positives in his side's performance.

"We not 100% there yet, but we were much better on the inside. Our forwards were outstanding in particular with our defensive maul system.

"The scrum was good and the overall attitude was just much better.

"Obviously we need to make some adjustment but at least we played with 15 men for 80 minutes, which is something we haven’t achieve in a long time, " the coach added.

One man who really impressed the New Zealander was Manie Libbok.

The fullback replaced Warrick Gelant just before the kick-off and scored a hat-trick of tries during the match.

"Manie is a wonderful talent and he has lots of gas [speed]‚ which is something you can’t coach‚"

By Leezil Hendricks

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Mon, 29 January 2018
UP-Tuks v Shimlas 14h45 Pretoria
Team P W D L Pts
Sharks 12 10 0 2 47
Western Province 12 7 0 5 37
Golden Lions 12 6 0 6 35
Blue Bulls 12 5 0 7 32
Free State Cheetahs 12 6 0 6 31
Pumas 12 4 0 8 27
Griquas 12 4 0 8 26