VIDEO: Bulls hope 'common sense will prevail' after red card shocker
The Bulls will look to ‘regroup’ after a disappointing end to their month-long United Rugby Championship tour.
Facing an Edinburgh team that featured 12 Scottish internationals, with seven of those among the forwards, the Bulls lost 23-31 in the Scottish capital this past Friday – slipping down from first to third place in the standings.
Not only did they get no points from the match, but they will be sweating over the pending disciplinary hearing of captain Marcell Coetzee and have also lost first-choice hooker Johan Grobbelaar with a hamstring injury.
Director of Rugby Jake White played down the red card issued to his captain, Coetzee, in the opening minute of the second half, which saw his team fail to take anything from the match after an impressive first half.
Coetzee was given his marching orders for contact between his shoulder and the head of Edinburgh prop Pierre Schoeman.
Irish referee Chris Busby ruled that it was a ‘high level of danger’
White added that they will see how they can support Coetzee, who will face a disciplinary hearing this coming week.
“Those are the laws and that is what the protocols are,” White said, adding: “We just have to ensure we are not on the wrong side of the protocols.
“We will look at all the factors and hopefully common sense will prevail. Maybe we can argue a case.”
What will have added to the Bulls’ frustrations was that Edinburgh No.8 Viliame Mata was only issued a yellow card for shoulder-to-head contact with Bulls centre Stedman Gans in the 71st minute.
(WATCH as Bulls Director of Rugby Jake White addresses the rash of cards – including a red to captain Marcell Coetzee – and the way forward, after a disappointing finish to their URC tour…)
White made it clear he is not going to comment on the perceived lack of consistency from match officials.
“The best thing for us is to follow the correct channels and chat to whoever has to be chatted to,” the Bulls boss said.
“We will find out what their interpretations are and why it was seen like that – both ways.
“We are going to have to fix it.
“There is a lot of communication and documentation going out to coaches about head-on-head and that is the way it is.
“We have to ensure we get it right.
“We can’t afford to play with 14 and 13 men in big games like this.”
To further complicate matters, Bulls flyhalf Johan Goosen was substituted in the 38th minute with a head knock, which wasn’t penalised.
Having started the season with a 63-21 rout of the Scarlets, followed by a 19-26 loss to Ulster in the first match on tour, victories over Zebre (54-29) and Cardiff (18-12) raised to hopes of a successful finish to the tour.
However, it was Edinburgh who triumphed 31-23 in Round Five.
The Bulls played 40 minutes with 14 men – after the captain, Coetzee, was red-carded.
Within a minute No.8 Cameron Hanekom was sent to the sin bin for illegally collapsing a maul.
White admitted that the Bulls make it hard for themselves.
“There were times when we were really good,” he said of his team’s ability to stay in the game till the bitter end.
It was a Ben Healy penalty in the 80th minute that sealed the win for the home team and denied the Bulls a losing bonus point – the Pretoria outfit leaving the Scottish capital empty-handed.
“I can’t be disappointed with the effort, or the spirit of the group.
“We have to go home and regroup – ahead of another tough game next week,” he said of hosting Irish province Connacht at Loftus Versfeld next Saturday.
The Bulls boss admitted it was frustrating to have seen a losing bonus point snatched away with the last kick of the match.
“Those are the margins,” White said in his post-match reaction.
“That is what you have to fight for and I am proud that we stayed in the fight.
“At 13-28, it looked like the game was over and we had 14 men on the field.
“However, I have to compliment the players for their fighting spirit and the way they stuck at it.”
There was also the late yellow to wing Sergeal Peterson, for a deliberate knock-on.
Ben Healy’s successful penalty ended the game and robbed the home team of even a losing bonus point.