Pretoria - Grinding out a victory was equally important as a commanding one for Blue
Bulls coach Nollis Marais as his side had to fend off a strong challenge by the Free State
Cheetahs for a 24-17 victory in their Currie Cup match in Pretoria on Friday.
visitors proved their earlier season 57-19 defeat to the
Bulls in Bloemfontein was not an accurate reflection of their true worth.
the Cheetahs taken all their chances, the score could easily have favoured them,
but instead the Bulls kept alive their unbeaten run in the Currie Cup.
Bulls coach Nollis Marais was a relieved man after his side was made to work
hard for their victory as they missed out on the full complement of points for
the first time this season.
was an intense game but at the end of the day I am happy with the win and I
will take the four points any day,” Marais said.
execution wasn’t good in the first half, we brought them into the game, and we
said playing in wet conditions where they could not play as expansive as they
have since the start of the competition would hold them in good stead as they
go into the second half of the competition.
game we’ve played so far was in nice weather conditions where we could run with
the ball but they needed this going into the summer time with the rains
the conditions did not allow the side to play with width, both sides were sound
defensively making for a good arm wrestle.
was excellent defence today, they had more ball because of mistakes we made
and defence ultimately won us the game,” Marais said.
coach Franco Smith in turn was also satisfied with his charges’ performance
where they had the upper hand in the first quarter before the match swung in
the hosts’ favour.
launched a promising fight back in the last 20 minutes of the match with the
seven-point advantage flattering the Bulls slightly.
was close and it would have nice to have won it, but I told the players we
didn’t lose tonight, we just didn’t win it but all credit to the Bulls, they are
a quality side,” Smith said.
guys were exceptional and it was important for us to
come back from that 57-pointer. The heart the guys showed out there made me
said he was encouraged by the improvements his side have made since the first
round, but was looking for further growth as they vie for a playoff spot.
must be clinical especially approaching the
business end of the competition,” he said.
didn’t convert a lot of possession we had in the first half into points and if
we scored the points we had on offer it might have been different but we know
there is still a lot of hard work ahead.
defence is sound, I think we gave away one soft try and we’ve conceded only
four tries in the last two games against top sides which means we are moving in the