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    3 reasons the Bulls lost

    2014-04-11 13:56
    Herman Mostert - Sport24
    Cape Town - The Vodacom Bulls lost 27-20 to the Highlanders in their Vodacom Super Rugby match in Dunedin on Friday.

    As it happened: Highlanders v Bulls

    The men from Pretoria started strong and seemed in control of proceedings, leading 13-3 after 30 minutes. With lock Victor Matfield leading from the front, they were comfortably winning their lineouts and also won key scrum battles more often than not.

    However, a strong final 10 minutes in the first half sparked the home side into life and the teams went into the shed level at 13-all.

    Those 10 minutes gave the hosts all the momentum they needed and they came out stronger in the second period.

    The Bulls had ample chances to wrestle back momentum, but made numerous errors at crucial stages to lose their second match on tour.

    Their loss was the 10th in a row by a South African team in Australasia in 2014.

    Sport24 outlines three key areas in which we felt cost the Bulls:

    1. Handling errors

    It was without doubt the worst handling display by any side in a Super Rugby match in living memory.

    The Bulls knocked the ball on no less than 14 times in a pretty forgettable second half. They had ample chances to get points, but knock-on after knock-on cost them dearly.

    A lot of those knocks were also made inside the strike zone, which made it all the more disappointing.

    The skill-set displayed by the Bulls was poor for the image of South African rugby!

    2. Defence

    The  Bulls were seemingly in control after 30 minutes, but slipped crucial tackles at key moments, with the hosts often counter-attacking from deep inside their own territory.

    In all, the Bulls missed 19 tackles - a statistic which proved too costly in the end as the hosts ran in three tries.

    3. Lack of composure on attack

    The Bulls showed plenty of willingness to attack and force the play. They also had numerous chances to stamp their authority for the full 80 minutes - as reflected in the 130 tackles the Highlanders had to make.

    The Bulls won 18 lineouts which gave them the perfect opportunity to attack with their most potent weapon - the driving maul.

    However, they struggled to finish off numerous promising mauls and also did not make use of all 14 penalties awarded to them.

    An inability to round off so many chances points to a lack of composure and patience at crucial stages in the game.

    The Bulls now travel to Sydney where they will face the Waratahs next Saturday.

    KEY STATS:

    Metres run: Highlanders 347-336 Bulls
    Carries: Highlanders 72-123 Bulls
    Defenders beaten: Highlanders 19-15 Bulls
    Clean breaks: Highlanders 6-5 Bulls
    Tackles made: Highlanders 130-63
    Tackles missed: Highlanders 15-19 Bulls
    Turnovers won: Highlanders 14-4 Bulls
    Kicks in play: Highlanders 30-33 Bulls
    Lineouts won: Highlanders 8-18 Bulls
    Lineouts lost: Highlanders 2-1 Bulls
    Scrums won: Highlanders 8-6 Bulls
    Scrums lost: Highlanders 5-1 Bulls
    Penalties conceded: Highlanders 14-7 Bulls

    Know your rugby and go to vodacom.co.za/rugby to download the Vodacom Rugby Stats App and follow the SuperGees at @vodacomrugga

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