Du Preez: ‘Bulls dismantled us’
REACTION: While the Sharks thrive against New Zealand teams, it’s certainly a very different story against their fellow South African sides.
After starting the tournament on an impressive note with victories over Japan franchise Sunwolves and the All Blacks-laden Blues, the Sharks have now suffered two consecutive defeats at the hands of South African opposition.
The Sharks, regarded as one of the more stable and settled South African sides, suffered a 14-37 defeat to the Bulls in Round four at Loftus Versfeld.
Saturday’s result, followed by the shock home defeat to the Stormers just a fortnight ago, is certainly a worrying sign for the Durban-based team.
After the match, Robert Du Preez revealed that his men struggled with the Bulls’ physicality as they were 0-19 down at the break before Jeremy Ward and Dan du Preez eventually scored the side’s two tries in the second stanza.
“It was another clinical performance by the Bulls, they dismantled us, especially in that first 20 minutes, we just couldn’t get going,” Du Preez told reporters at Loftus Versfeld.
“Coming up here [to Pretoria] in a typical derby, it’s always going to be tough. It’s like test-match rugby… think derbies are unbelievably physical, and the team that is the most aggressive is going to come out on top.
“We have been beaten up for two weeks in a row now.”
Aside from the lack of physicality, the coach also identified his team’s handling errors and turnovers as additional misfortunes that flawed their plan.
“Handling errors, too many turnovers, there were something like 15, that just contributed to not having possession in the wrong part of the field,” said Du Preez.
He added: “I think the plan was solid, the last two weeks we had very good training weeks, but when you come up against a side like the Bulls, that is really clinical in their execution and you can’t get going, it is always going to be difficult,”
The Sharks will enjoy the bye next week, before a home match against the Melbourne Rebels on March 23.
By Leezil Hendricks