A cold reality for the Bulls
REACTION: Adapting to the Northern Hemisphere weather conditions continues to be a major challenge for the Bulls.
The Pretoria side headed into Friday’s encounter againt Lyon needing a bonus point to qualify for the Round of 16.
However came nowhere close to the goal, instead, they were outplayed and suffered a 7-31 defeat to a ruthless Lyon side at Matmut Stadium de Gerland.
Lyon scored four tries for the bonus point win in the snow.
Kurt-Lee Arendse, who left the field in the second half with a calf injury, scored the Bulls’ only try.
Fronting the media Bulls backline coach Chris Rossouw revealed Arendse’s niggle is not a serious injury.
“Kurt-Lee has a bit of a calf, but they will monitor it,” Rossouw said, adding: “I don’t think it is something serious, but obviously he and Canan Moodie will return to the Springboks.”
The pair will miss the Bulls’ United Rugby Championship match against Scarlets in Wales.
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The Bulls created loads of scoring opportunities during Friday’s match against Lyon, but handling errors, multiple turnovers at the breakdowns and troubling scrums halted overshadowed their efforts.
Fortunately for the Bulls, they still managed to qualify for the knockout stages, thanks to Gloucester’s bonus point win over Bordeaux.
Nonetheless, if the Bulls want to be a threat they have to adapt to weather conditions given the side will have to travel in the Round of 16, while discipline is also another big challenge.
“For us, it was our first encounter in France,” Rossouw said.
“We came up against a French side that was playing at home and it was completely different.
“You can look at the conditions and travel as an excuse. It was extremely cold and the snow came down towards the end, but the reality is that the conditions weren’t that bad in the end.
“Put that aside, we conceded too many penalties that put us under pressure and had too many technical errors.
“In the first half, it was 11 penalties conceded and in the second half, we brought that down to five. We came back well in the second half – take my hat off to the guys – but put ourselves under immense pressure at the beginning of the match and that showed on the scoreboard.”
It was not all doom and gloom for Rossouw as he managed to find some valuable lessons.
“It was a disappointing experience, but also a positive one in that we were in this game in both halves,” Rossouw said.
“We also had patches like that against the Sharks and Stormers. Only time will get us to a point where we can control these games better.
“It’s extremely difficult to win in France. If you want to win here, you have to be clinical, be brave and take your opportunities. We had the opportunity. We also need to adapt better to playing on artificial turf.”