Bulls to sweep in front of their own door

Wed, 15 Mar 2017 16:45

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The Bulls are looking internally for the cause of their dismal start to the Super Rugby season.

The men from Pretoria have yet to win - after defeats to the Stormers at Newlands and Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.

They are eyeing the Sunwolves - who visit Pretoria on Friday - as an opportunity to kick-start their season.

While external factors - such as questionable decisions by match officials - have been put forward by some pundits, the Bulls are not willing to make any excuses.

Even with a relatively rookie Super Rugby referee like New Zealander Jamie Nutbrown in charge, the Bulls still prefer to sweep in front of their own door.

"Yes, [it is a] new ref and different challenges," Bulls coach Nollis Marais said, when quizzed about match officials and their influence.

"However, we are focusing more on the things we must get right," he told a media briefing ahead of Friday's outing at Loftus Versfeld.

"We know how he [Nutbrown] referees and what he looks at and what [tactics] they [the Sunwolves] are famed for.

"But we are focusing more on putting our game in place."

Marais said it is an important game for the Bulls, firstly because it is a home game.

"We are playing them [Sunwolves] twice in the next four weeks - here [Pretoria] and away [Tokyo], while in-between we play the Blues [Auckland] and Chiefs [Hamilton]," the Bulls mentor said.

"For us it is important to make sure we get a win this weekend.

"That is why we must ensure we put in place the right things [game plan ad tactics] for this weekend.

"We need to fix a lot of things in our game.

"If we do get it right we are a very difficult side [to beat]."

Captain Handré Pollard also said the Bulls are looking inwards when searching for answers to the question of their losing-streak at the start of the season.

"There was no lack of effort from the guys," Pollard said of the defeats to the Stormers and Cheetahs.

"We just made too many mistakes and were not clinical enough.

"If you make 38 mistakes, as we did against the Cheetahs, against their 12, you are going to be under pressure.

"You will take a lot of punishment."

He said the Bulls are still going to "express" themselves, but they have focussed on lowering the error rate.

He also spoke about his own form, saying he set high standards for himself.

"I can play a lot better and I have made mistakes," the Springbok flyhalf said.

"I feel I have improved from the Stormers game [in Round One] to the Cheetahs game [Round Two].

"However, there is always room for improvement.

"It is a great opportunity for myself and the team to go out and get some confidence," he said of Friday's match.

@rugby365com

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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 8 3 0 5 17
Waratahs 9 3 0 6 13
Reds 9 2 0 7 11
Force 8 2 0 6 9
Rebels 8 1 1 6 7
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 9 9 0 0 41
Chiefs 9 8 0 1 37
Hurricanes 8 7 0 1 33
Highlanders 9 6 0 3 28
Blues 8 3 0 5 17
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 9 6 0 3 26
Bulls 8 3 0 5 14
Cheetahs 9 2 0 7 10
Sunwolves 9 1 0 8 6
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 9 8 0 1 37
Sharks 9 6 1 2 28
Jaguares 9 4 0 5 20
Kings 9 3 0 6 15