Bulls plan to 'tackle' Province into submission
REACTION: Blue Bulls coach Nollis Marais bemoaned his team's defensive frailties as they head to Newlands for the big north-south derby.
Coming off a 20-28 defeat at the hands of the Sharks, Marais said his team have their work cut out if they hope to overcome Western Province.
Not only do both teams come of disappointing midweek defeats, it will be a third game in eight days for both.
However, it was the defensive lapses at Loftus Versfeld this past Wednesday that concerns Marais most.
"We had 40 missed tackles," the Bulls mentor said, as he looked ahead to the encounter in Cape Town.
"There were enough opportunities in the game," he said, adding: "We just didn't converted [those opportunities] into points.
"I have said, from the outset, that the team that gets the balance between defence and attack right will win."
It was the Bulls first defeat of the Currie Cup season and they know they have to bounce back straight away.
"Out exits were poor and we [also] lost the ball at restarts. We lost the ball and they (Sharks) scored seven [points] from that."
He said the young players "didn't stick to the processes and what the plan was", resulting in a loss of momentum.
However, he believes the players will improve with experience.
Bulls lock Ruben van Heerden was also shown a yellow card, after tripping an opponent in the 25th minute of the game.
Marais said had no complaints and that the player "deserved" the yellow card.
The Bulls mentor said the congested fixture list cannot be used as a reason for his team's disappointing performance.
"It's tough," he said of having three games in seven days, adding: "We played last Saturday [the Blue Bulls beat the Golden Lions 54-22]. It is something new, but it's not an excuse."
The Bulls flew to Cape on Thursday, barely 12 hours after their loss to the Sharks.
Western Province also lost - 34-44 to the Griquas in Kimberley on Wednesday.
It means the teams will be in the same state of desperation to get their respective campaigns back on track.
"We got to be up for it. We lost a home game, which is unacceptable - not that any loss is acceptable. We need to make right on Saturday," Marais said.
The Blue Bulls currently sit in third position on the Currie Cup table with 11 points from three matches, which includes two wins - against Griquas and the Golden Lions.