What a great weekend of sport, and before everyone jumps up and down and points their finger at the Bulls inept performance (which was the only low point), this blog is directed at them. Amla, Smith and Kalis where sublime, the Sharks put the Reds in their place and Ernie laid off old Johnny Walker long enough to bag his 2nd British Open Title.
So, Bulls, Where did it all go wrong? This Bulls side sported, on more than one occasion, at least 13 to 14 Springboks in the starting line up. Not bad for a side that lost 5 world class players. This side had everything going for them. Fresh, enthusiastic youngsters and a well respected and proven coaching structure. They were given an outside shot to make the playoffs – which they achieved. They scored plenty of tries and had a fly-half that was one of the top 2 top point scores in this years competition .
So, where did it go wrong?
The Bulls season started extremely well beating the Sharks at home and then the Cheetahs away. Then came the wobble. This I believe was the start of the turning point. Losing 23-29 to the under performing Blues at home would not only come back to haunt them but that was the game they began to lose form, accuracy and the ability to win close games. Next up was an arrogant and under prepared Reds team that arrived at Loftus and where smashed 61-8 by the Bulls. This definitely gave them a false belief that they were on the right track.
Then came the fall. The derby we all wait for. North vs South. The Bulls lost this game to what would become their “Achilles Heal”. Penalties at scrum time. This disease would follow them into every game and into the play offs. For more than one season now they rely solely on their line-out to set up their attack and disrupt the opposing team. But those of us who have played this great game all know that once you dominate a team at scrum time, the momentum you gain from that close in combat is carried into all other areas of collision. Your eight becomes ineffective, your fly-half begins to play deep and your back line fails to cross the advantage line.
–>HARD WORK PAYS OFF WHEN TALENT REFUSES TO WORK HARD <--
Secondly, AND THIS IS PURELY MY OWN OPINION, "The Bulls played the play-off game with no back bone, guts and passion for the the game. There are plenty of talented players in the Bulls team who did not produce the goods this season. There are players in the Bulls setup who would have played with a more spirit and passion than the crew who took the field this passed Saturday. If the ranking system they employ is true- 'I Think its time to shelve it'. Stander and Venter surely would have added more spice to the predictable game plan."
With some time off now the Bulls will have plenty of time to look back at this Super XV season as one of missed opportunities.
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