Marais: This is how you beat Kiwi teams

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 13:42
Large nollis marais pensive 800

REACTION: The Bulls will not discard their expansive approach, but they will be a lot more pragmatic in next year's Super Rugby.

The Bulls, who have not finished higher than ninth in Super Rugby in the past three years, believe that with the right approach they can build on a relatively successful Currie Cup season.

Despite losing 16-36 to the Free State Cheetahs in the Final in Bloemfontein at the weekend, coach Nollis Marais believes the Bulls are an improving side.

However, they will have a far tougher route to the Super Rugby play-offs next year - having to face the five New Zealand franchises (Hurricanes, Highlanders, Crusaders, Chiefs and Blues), as opposed to playing against the much weaker Australian sides.

The Bulls beat the Western Force (in Perth), Reds (in Pretoria) and Rebels (in Pretoria), while losing to the Waratahs (in Sydney) and Brumbies (in Canberra) on their way to a ninth-place finish.

Marais is adamant that playing against Kiwis requires some 'tempering' of your approach and that 'all-out attack' is not the way to go.

"I always believe if you want to beat New Zealand teams you have to play in the right areas of the field and be accurate," he said of a more demanding 2017 campaign.

"If you look at the [Bledisloe Cup] Test [in Auckland at the weekend], Australia did all the playing and New Zealand scored from their mistakes," he said of a game in which the Wallabies had almost 70 percent of the possession and trailed just 10-15 after 50 minutes.

In the last half-hour the All Blacks scored three tries to race to a 37-10 victory.

"You can play from anywhere, but if you are not accurate they will punish you," Marais said of the ability of New Zealand teams to play from turnovers.

"We will have the belief to play from the right areas and create momentum from that," he said of the Bulls' approach in 2017.

"We do believe in playing more expansive rugby, but we will try and play in the right areas."

Marais said the Bulls will take a break and regather on November 14 to start their Super Rugby pre-season build-up.

Both Marais and captain Arno Botha spoke of the "disappointment" in the wake of their loss to the Cheetahs.

However, they believe the loss will make them "stronger" and assist with the growth the team has shown in the Currie Cup competition.

"Last year we ended second on the [Currie Cup] standings, but lost at home [to Western Province in the semifinal]," Marais said.

"This year we have gone a step further and I am proud of the guys," he added.

"We were definitely beaten by the better side on the day and obviously we are very disappointed.

"We will get back a few guys for Super Rugby next year, but it was also good for the youngsters to come through and they have played well.

"Getting into a Final would have been an experience and I'm happy that we got to the final but I am not happy about the way that we played. The guys need to learn from this and I believe they will be better for it going forward."

Botha also felt the growth shown in the last 12 months will ensure the Bulls have a sound platform from which to launch their 2017 campaign.

"We went through the same thing last year and came face-to-face with the same situation this year and we were better this year," Botha said.

"Next year we might find ourselves in the same situation with 43 000 people and we will handle it better because you've seen it before and you don't want it to happen again.

"We are a growing team and it has been a good season for us."

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sun, 17 December 2017
Wasps v La Rochelle 13h00 Ricoh Arena
Ospreys v Northampton Saints 15h15 Liberty Stadium
Clermont Auvergne v Saracens 15h15 Stade Marcel-Michelin
Leicester Tigers v Munster 17h30 Welford Road
Fri, 22 December 2017
Wasps v Gloucester 22h00 Ricoh Arena
Newcastle Falcons v Harlequins 22h00 Kingston Park
Northampton Saints v Exeter Chiefs 22h00 Franklin's Gardens
Worcester Warriors v Leicester Tigers 22h00 Sixways
Leicester Tigers v Saracens 22h00 Welford Road
Sale Sharks v Bath 22h00 AJ Bell Stadium
Sat, 23 December 2017
Treviso v Zebre 14h00 Stadio Monigo
Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors 16h10 BT Murrayfield
Connacht v Ulster 18h35 Sportsground
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 6 0 9 34
Force 15 6 0 9 26
Reds 15 4 0 11 21
Waratahs 15 4 0 11 19
Rebels 15 1 1 13 9
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 15 14 0 1 63
Hurricanes 15 12 0 3 58
Chiefs 15 12 1 2 57
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 51
Blues 15 7 1 7 37
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 0 5 43
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Bulls 15 4 0 11 20
Sunwolves 15 2 0 13 12
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 15 14 0 1 65
Sharks 15 9 1 5 42
Jaguares 15 7 0 8 33
Kings 15 6 0 9 28