Potgieter defends penalty decisions
Potgieter defends penalty decisionsSHARE
Bulls captain Dewald Potgieter has defended his decision to turn down a number of kickable penalties and instead opt for line-outs in his team's loss to the Brumbies.
The Brumbies will play the Chiefs in the Super Rugby Final in Hamilton next week, after edging the Bulls 26-23 with a last-minute Tevita Kuridrani try winner in Pretoria on Saturday.
Many pundits questioned the wisdom of setting up line-outs instead of taking penalty kicks at goal going into the last 10 minutes – while the Bulls were clinging to a one-point (20-19) lead.
It was not till the 75th minute, after three attempts in succession at creating as try through a maul, that Morné Steyn aimed at the uprights. He slotted it to make it a four-point (23-19) lead.
However, the Brumbies charged hard in the late stages and eventually got their reward.
"We tried to have an attacking mindset at that point," Potgieter said of a period when they dominance of possession and territory brought them no reward.
"We tried to spend most of the time in their territory and it was working for us right up to the end – when we took the penalty and we were back in our own half.
"We just could not exit [our half] from there. We've been struggling the whole match with our exits – so that was basically the reasoning behind that," he said, making it clear it was deliberate tactic to stay in the Brumbies' territory.
"[It is] not always a popular choice, but you got to back what you want to do and the guys were of the same mindset at that time."
Potgieter said he could not have asked for a bigger effort from his team.
"We were up against a side that was good in the set pieces, we knew it was going to be a big battle.
"When it counted, in the second half, our guys came through in those [set piece] departments."
he admitted it was the second match in a row – following the league match against the Stormers – where they did not get off to the best start and were a bit complacent.
"The guys, after about 15 [to] 20 minutes, [they] made a mental switch and we decided to play the balanced attacking rugby that has suited us so well this year," Potgieter said.
"We got the lead and did really well, but once again a bad start probably put us on the back foot."