Bulls maintain playoff belief
Fourie du Preez (Gallo Images)
Pretoria – The full haul of points and healthy boost to their points difference was the first command that was successfully executed, but it certainly won’t relieve the urgency in the Bulls camp – there are still five games that need to be won.
That was the line from Bulls scrumhalf Fourie du Preez after his side beat the Melbourne Rebels 47-10 on Saturday. The Bulls were particularly impressive in the first half.
According to the outstanding scrumhalf, who led the team to a second straight victory at Loftus Versfeld, the team wanted to pick up a bonus point and post a big score as the players believe they can still make the playoffs.
“It can be of major interest later in the tournament, but the reality is that another defeat will again be a step back for us. That is why we dare not rest on our laurels after a good performance. The Sharks will be a huge challenge in Durban,” said Du Preez.
Du Preez said that the Bulls’ goal remains a place in the play-offs and successfully defending their title.
“We will therefore arrive at training on Monday with a common goal and that is to ensure we prepare as well as possible to beat the Sharks.”
He believes that the two games against the Sharks (the other is on 18 June at Loftus Versfeld) can determine the Bulls’ fate.
“It does not help to look at permutations if we don’t keep winning. We start from scratch every week. We will take a lot of confidence into the next week. Things started to go our way in those last 10 minutes of the first half against the Chiefs and we took that into the Rebels game.”
Bulls coach Frans Ludeke also did not have many complaints after the victory.
“We played very good rugby in the first half, and while we lost a little momentum in those first 10 minutes of the second half it was an excellent win for us,” he said.
“There were a few times we did not finish and that broke our momentum, but we also did a lot right.”
Ludeke was not concerned that the Bulls’ lineout drives did not prove as effective against the Chiefs as it did against the Rebels.
“They certainly paid a lot of attention to defending the mauls. You could notice that last week when they did well against the Reds, who are also a good driving team. They did well to limit our opportunities.”
Ludeke preferred to discuss his own team’s defence.
“The fact that we only conceded one try in the game shows how good our focus on defence was,” he said.
The coach did not want to speculate on whether the Sharks’ bye could end up counting against them.
“I don’t know what they did the past week, so I cannot comment,” he said.