Vodacom Super 14
Bulls front row S14 'heroes'
Gurthro Steenkamp (Gallo Images)
Pretoria - The Bulls’ scrum won this one.GALLERY: Bulls fans step out in Soweto
That was the assessment by Bulls captain Victor Matfield, while coach Frans Ludeke also described his front row as “unsung heroes” in the Bulls’ 25-17 Super 14 final win over the Stormers.
Prior to the clash in Soweto, the Stormers were talking up their scrumming power and how they aimed to pressurise the Bulls.
However, nothing came of that as the Bulls not only had the Stormers on the back foot with their powerful scrumming, but also forced four penalties that flyhalf Morné Steyn converted into points.
The Stormers were penalised at the first scrum as they could not handle the Bulls’ front row of Gurthro Steenkamp, Gary Botha and Werner Kruger. The Stormers woes continued to the very end with replacement Bees Roux adding to their misery.
Matfield said the Bulls’ scrum had handed them a platform to attack from.
“Our front row definitely had the upper hand. That made things a lot easier for us. We wanted to start well and managed that thanks to the scrums.”
Ludeke also lauded his troops.
“Scrumming is about attitude. We did not scrum well last year and were even under pressure in that facet in the Currie Cup. Since then the team has worked very hard and they reaped the benefits today (on Saturday),” said the coach.
Ludeke believes the return of hooker Botha from English club Harlequins was part of the turnaround after his two-season stint there.
“Gary’s technical knowledge and his love for scrumming was definitely contagious. There was buy-in from everyone and with the help of someone like Balie Swart we had a scrum this year from which we could create a platform.”
Kruger said he felt flattered about Matfield’s praise.
“Wow, it feels good to hear that. We worked hard to improve this year and today it went really well. You can never rest on your laurels and we’ll have to work hard at maintaining that standard in the Currie Cup,” he said.
Kruger comfortably won his duel with Stormers loosehead Wicus Blaauw and earned three penalties that were converted into points.
Later, Roux also forced JC Kritzinger into errors that were punished by Steyn.
“It was a good team effort. In finals it’s important that every guy knows his role and I think everyone did their bit,” said Kruger.
Kruger said the victory tasted sweeter as the Super 14 trophy will remain at Loftus forever.
“It’s always nice when things work out. There was buy-in from everyone in the way that we wanted to scrum and we worked hard.
We’re not quite where we want to be just yet, but won’t stop working.”Bulls front row Werner Krguer, Gary Botha and Gurthro Steenkamp (Gallo Images)