Sunwolves were tactically better
SUPER RUGBY REACTION: Bulls captain Adriaan Strauss was quick to admit that the Sunwolves were tactically better after the Japanese-based side claimed a shock 21-20 victory.
A 75th-minute penalty from replacement Yu Tamura proved to be the difference as the Bulls slumped to a fifth defeat in six games this season, however, Strauss believed the Sunwolves punished their inability to retain possession.
"We were under a lot of pressure, the instructions was that we needed to get the territory and possession. We didn't do that, especially the first 15 to 20 minutes where we tried to run the ball from all over. They punished us when they got the turnover ball.
"We had weak moments but the Sunwolves played great tactical rugby. Their defence was very good and they have a great ability to hold onto the ball and stretch you out wide and test your defence.
"They also showed that they can play a tactical game, whether that is with kicking and getting into the right areas or running it themselves into the right areas. The Sunwolves outplayed us for most of the game and were physically up for it.
"[They] Played great, constructive rugby where they held onto the ball," Strauss said.
The Bulls were reduced to 14 men for the final 12 minutes of the match and while they handled the pressure on a previous occasion, coach Nollis Marais admits it was a lot more difficult this time around.
"Unfortunately it [the yellow card] cost us in the end. The last time we played with 14 guys, it inspired us but today it was difficult to defend. I still felt that we could win the game in the end but we missed the late penalty.
"I think with 15 minutes left in the game, it's difficult to defend with 14 men but we should not have been in that position in the first place and weren't good enough," Marais said.
Marais agreed with his captain that were simply outplayed on the day.
"We were outplayed, made too many errors - kicking for touch, kicking directly out. Small things that cost us momentum and that changed a lot of things of the game.
"The Sunwolves defended well, they came off the line and put us under pressure and we made handling errors. Our plan was to hold onto the ball from the beginning but that never went well. They rushed us into mistakes and we panicked at the end and they gave us problems," he added.