Desperation pays off for Bulls
Pretoria - The Blue Bulls went for a win-at-all-cost approach in their Currie Cup match against Western Province at Loftus Versfeld on Friday, coach Pine Pienaar said after the match.
With the Pretoria-based side languishing in last place of the Currie Cup log before the start of the penultimate round of the league phase, their desperation paid off in their 26-13 victory over the Capetonians.
"We need four wins in a row if we want to win the Currie Cup and if you fail with one you are out," Pienaar said. "I am relieved about the win and at times we played good rugby.
"But we put ourselves under pressure and our discipline cost us a bit in the second half with the penalty try we conceded."
The Bulls opted for penalty conversions and the odd drop goal attempt while there were perfectly good opportunities to take the ball wide for tries.
"Only the Sharks have scored three tries against WP and we knew we had to win to keep ourselves in the running for the Currie Cup," he said.
"We said it was the way we wanted to play and we wanted to put them under pressure."
The side’s flyhalf Louis Fouche, however, bore the brunt of the Loftus faithful’s dissatisfaction over the side's conservative approach.
Pienaar defended his pivot's option-taking in the match saying he worked to a pre-determined plan against the best defensive team in the country.
"We said if we get a penalty we would try and build an innings and the people booed Louis at one stage," Pienaar said.
"We felt if we did not get on the front foot he would get back in the pocket and go for the drop.
"That is what he did and it came close and if it was over he would have been the hero, but that was our message."
The Bulls still face an uphill battle to secure a playoff spot when they play defending champions and log-leader, the Golden Lions in the final round next week.
"We know next week will be even tougher against the Lions," he said.
While Province remained in third place after Friday’s action, their position could change after Saturday’s other matches.
Province coach Allister Coetzee conceded that his side made matters difficult for themselves ahead of the final round of matches.
"We would have liked to have been in a situation where we could play for a home semi-final but unfortunately we now have to win the last match to make the playoffs," Coetzee said.
"We are looking forward to our match at Newlands and we have to make amends, and there is still a chance next week.
"I believe that we still have three matches left for this season."
The Capetonians will play the Free State Cheetahs at home in their final round match before the playoffs.