Pretoria – The Highlanders will not be as generous as the Bulls’ countrymen and that is why the champions will have to play for 80 minutes for a change.
Bulls captain Victor Matfield has expressed his satisfaction with the Super Rugby log, but immediately pointed out that it is not a reflection of the true state of affairs of his team’s two matches against the Lions and Cheetahs.
While the Bulls are not going to reflect on what might have been, they will definitely look for an improved performance against the Kiwis.
“We’ll have to play for 80 minutes. It was the second week in a row where we did not play for 80 minutes and that is not the standard we want to set for the rest of the season,” Matfield said after his team’s narrow but deserved victory in Bloemfontein on Friday.
“One has to bear in mind that this is still the beginning of the season, but our goal is to improve every week. We weren’t as good as we could be in the past two weeks, so there is a lot of work ahead,” he admitted.
One area the Bulls will have to improve is to protect their possession a lot better.
They gave the ball away 10 times against the Cheetahs and also wasted numerous attacking opportunities. Apart from the three tries they conceded, the Bulls defended well.
According to www.ruggastats.co.za
they only missed 7 out of 142 tackles. However, better focus on attack will certainly assist them in making bonus points a reality.
Centre Wynand Olivier did well on attack and carried the ball 138 metres against the Cheetahs.
The finishing is lacking and the absence thereof was nowhere more obvious than when Morné Steyn broke in the second half.
With team-mates on his left and right and few Cheetahs in front, he tried to find Derick Kuün with an outrageous pass without looking and what appeared a certain try went begging.
Olivier broke strongly once in the first half, but the pass was also lost.
However, the tries by Bakkies Botha and Fourie du Preez showed that the Bulls could score tries from phase play when they are patient.
Botha scored his 50th point in the competition after 10 phases and Du Preez his 100th after 9.
Meanwhile, Botha has injured ligaments in his foot and more certainty about the injury is expected on Monday.