Spotlight on Bulls' decision-making
REACTION: Bulls Director of Rugby Jake White admits his side’s decision-making under pressure proved to be costly.
Despite outscoring their hosts by five tries to four, the Bulls lost their unbeaten record in the domestic conference of the Trans-Hemisphere competition with a narrow 33-34 defeat to the Lions at Ellis Park.
Replacement flyhalf Fred Zeilinga scored a try and landed a conversion with just five minutes left on the clock.
The Bulls, who had a comfortable 13-point lead in the last quarter of the match, struggled at the scrums, while their lack of composure also aided in their first defeat of the season.
“When you leading 33-20 with 15 minutes to go, we probably shot ourselves in the foot,” White told reporters after the match at Ellis Park.
“We dropped the kick-off, we couldn’t find touch and missed a penalty kick at goal and our scrums.
“I think you can’t have a set-piece that’s struggling and every time we conceded a penalty we put ourselves under pressure.
“Think that’s the pressure you feel when you are in these types of competitions. You can’t afford to drop your guard,”
He added: “I’ve got to stress – and we said it throughout the week – there’s no Number 1 playing Number 4. The margins are so small and the Lions could’ve won last week as well.
“Credit has to go to them. They stuck in there and play differently. They try to score some tries and didn’t kick for poles. They deserve the result,”
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White revealed that Saturday’s defeat is not a lesson for the players but the coaching team as well.
“This is not a case of having to re-assess. Games like this allow me to see how certain players can perform under pressure.
“We are in a learning phase as well. We had a lot of youngsters on the field who haven’t been exposed to that type of pressures and pressure create decision-making that sometimes goes wrong.
“Think the only way we as players and coaches can learn if we discuss those things,”
“Having said that, a win is four points we have two and we still have our own destiny in our own hands,”
The coach revealed that Lizo Gqoboka was taken off as a precaution after he rolled his ankle. However, the injury doesn’t look to be serious.
While Duane Vermeulen, who was replaced by Nizaam Carr, also twisted his ankle.
However after the match, the No.8 said that he ‘is hopeful it will recover quickly,”
White also reveals some good news stating the side will receive a major boost as the likes of Ivan van Zyl, Travis Ismaiel, Marcell Coetzee and Gio Aplon will return after this weekend’s bye.
The Bulls, who are currently top of the log with 15 points, will face the Stormers next on Friday, June 4 at Loftus Versfeld and then take on the Sharks in Durban on Saturday, June 12.