Mistakes continue to plague Bulls
SUPER RUGBY REACTION: Bulls coach Nollis Marais believes his side is on the right path, despite mistakes at crucial times giving their opponents a sniff in the match, following their 34-21 victory over the Sunwolves on Friday.
The Bulls played 39 minutes of the second half with just 14 players after Renaldo Bothma received a straight red card for a dangerous high tackle but it was a basic error of not kicking a penalty into touch just before half-time that allowed the Sunwolves to score and trail just 14-17 at the break.
"We are making too many mistakes, that is why we are struggling to gain momentum. We didn't start badly, we did all the play in the opening 30 minutes and had a good lead.
"It was one or two errors that got them [Sunwolves] back in the game. We should have killed them off before half-time. I agree that there are a lot of things that need improving but I feel we are on the correct path.
"The red card killed us in the second half because you can defend how many times you want, there will be space somewhere. Had Jason [Jenkins] scored, we looking at a different game.
"We made it difficult for ourselves but the guys fought well to play 40 minutes with 14 players against a team that keeps the ball for many phases. Obviously there were plenty of other opportunities to score but we are still happy with the win, despite not getting the bonus point.
"When I saw it [the tackle], I said it was red. They made it clear to us, that's the stipulation, I was hoping Willie Vos [TMO] would have missed it but when they reviewed it, I knew it was red. Those are the competition's rules and we accept the red card.
"For me, its important to win at Loftus, regardless of who you are playing. I think there were some good things in the game. The 14 guys fought for the remainder of the game," Marais said.
Bulls captain Handre Pollard believes the victory stands them in good stead ahead of their tour to New Zealand.
"We are improving, they [Sunwolves] came out with a bang in the opening minutes but we handled it and got some points soon after.
"We are excited to play against the NZ teams. We are looking forward to it and want to use it to turn our season around and return with some log points. Then we will be a side that will contest for a semi-final spot," Pollard said.
Marais believes they have a good plan for the Blues, who they face in their opening match of the tour.
"The Blues are a good team. I think we have a good plan for them but on the day, we need to go out and impress. If you are going to give them a lot of loose ball, you are going to be punished.
"None of the New Zealand sides are weak, so this win [against the Sunwolves] gives us a lot of confidence. Any win is a good win in Super Rugby.
"I felt that we were more in a match this week [than previous weeks] and the confidence is there from the guys coming back [from injuries]. To win games, you need your best players on the field," Marais added.