Currie Cup

Praise for Bulls, shame for WP

2015-08-24 08:54
Nollis Marais (Gallo Images)

Pretoria - The aftermath of the Currie Cup clash between the Blue Bulls and Western Province in Pretoria earned praise for the one and shame for the other as the hosts claimed a 47-29 victory over the defending champions.

Bulls coach Nollis Marais’ much-vaunted change in strategy was on display in the second half with the back three of Warrick Gelant, Jamba Ulengo and Travis Ismaiel in devastating form.

Running in five tries in the final half-hour of the match the Bulls turned in what WP mentor John Dobson described an “exceptional performance”.

Dobson was full of praise for the Bulls but in the same breath lambasted his charges for an embarrassing display.

“They are playing a good style of rugby, I expected them to play that way, it is good for Bulls rugby, the Currie Cup and South African rugby,” Dobson said.

“I don’t think there is a player (in the WP side) who enhanced their reputation, we normally have a man-of-the-match award and we are not going to give it.

“I think it was an embarrassment to Western Province Rugby in that second half.”

Western Province took an 11-point lead when Dillyn Leyds intercepted and ran the length of the field to score in the 45th minute before Demetri Catrakilis added three more points with a penalty conversion.

Leyds’ celebrations for his try against the run of play which included a dance move did not sit well with Dobson.

“We celebrated like we won the game, to me the signs were already on the wall there, it was poor behaviour by us,” Dobson said.

Catrakilis' three-pointer was the final points of the night for the visitors before Burger Ondendaal's try on the 50-minute mark sparked their five-try blitzkrieg giving the Bulls their first victory over Western Province since their 26-13 win at Loftus Versfeld in October 2012.

Marais’ class of 2015 is at this early stage of the competition looking like serious contenders but the Bulls mentor believes his side still has much to improve on.

“There are still too many mistakes that we need to fix, too many basic errors, the breakdown and the set-piece,” Marais said.

“We are way off from where we want to be conceding silly points like the intercept tries so we have a another few weeks where we can improve. We haven’t won anything, we need to fix certain things to be a better side every week.”

There is nevertheless a fresh breeze blowing through Loftus Versfeld and one can sense this team could return the Bulls to the force it once was should the team reach maturity .

Marais seemed to have succeeded in his first goal of entertaining the supporters with a good brand of rugby.

“There were 27 000 people and we said we wanted to give them value for their money and we did that, so I am just glad people had a good time,” he said.

“We try to bring new things in and we will back ourselves, sometimes it might work and sometimes it might not but they are doing well at the moment.

“It is surprising when you give players an opportunity to play to their natural strengths and put confidence in them how much they can achieve.”


Read more on:    blue bulls  |  wp  |  currie cup  |  nollis marais  |  john dobson  |  pretoria  |  rugby

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