News24

Bulls need to plug leaks fast

2012-05-04 15:10

Cape Town – Ten tries conceded in their last two Super Rugby matches ... that is a statistic that tells the Bulls the obvious: they need to revisit the drawing board over their defence.

GALLERY: Rebels v Bulls

First they conceded five to the Brumbies in the 36-34 victory at Loftus a fortnight ago, and the pattern repeated itself on Friday as another Australian outfit, the unheralded Melbourne Rebels, dotted that many to at least bank the consolation of two losing bonus points in a brave 41-35 surrender to the South African tourists.

Fortunately for Pierre Spies’s team, their commendable enterprise at the other end of the park – they are hardly having a problem in the try column themselves – means they are staying on the winning trail for the moment, and have returned to the top of the SA conference for good measure as the Stormers wallow in a bye weekend.

But they will be only too aware (Spies was quick to concede it in the immediate pitch-side interview as they came off their maiden visit to AAMI Park relieved to have done the full-house job) that stopping the leaks is an urgent requirement.

There are still just too many in-field clean line breaks against them, while close to their own try-line a problem has certainly taken root regarding a lack of “numbers” in front of or at least nearby enemy ball-carriers, plus perhaps an overly upright approach to halting drives.

The situation was especially chaotic in the first half of Friday’s often exhilarating contest where the Rebels, it must be said, played above themselves for good doses of the game and their flyhalf Kurtley Beale was in his attacking element, considering the breathless fluidity to proceedings.

We witnessed the reasonably unusual event of both teams bagging their four-try bonus point before the interval hooter, and maybe the eventual winners will take some comfort from the fact that they did improve their tackling enough in the second 40 minutes to limit the try flow to one further dot-down apiece.

The Bulls were helped by useful, extremely high energy levels from replacements Arno Botha (a necessary one in the 45th minute as physical blind-sider Jacques Potgieter hobbled off with a left knee injury) and, in midfield, Johann Sadie who may just start to generate a wee reputation for playing his best rugby abroad!

The latter may also wriggle his way back into starting contention alongside staple No 12 Wynand Olivier, as a suspicion remains that for all his talent in an offensive capacity, the rangy JJ Engelbrecht is still having one or two organisational issues defensively in his new posting at outside centre.

There is no reason to believe that the Bulls will do anything but acknowledge that their try-concession woes would have probably have cost them more dearly had they been playing, for instance, any of their remaining tour foes in the successive form of the Waratahs, Highlanders and Chiefs.

At least they can say they achieved their No 1 priority of ensuring a “maximum” start to their overseas leg against the side which always shaped as easiest obstacle despite the many heart-stopping moments in the clash.

And from a ticking-of-boxes point of view, the men from Pretoria will be satisfied that their composure held firm on an unexpectedly taxing night, their own thrust and slickness with ball in hand was evident once more, and some of their forward battering rams did their trademark jobs with great urgency and zeal.

With Springbok thoughts creeping ever-closer to front of mind now, Morne Steyn’s superb all-round night at No 10 (including a return to bull’s-eye best off the tee) would have been a great comfort to national coach Heyneke Meyer.

Apart from scoring one try himself, Steyn was instrumental in one or two others through his exemplary sense of awareness, while a couple of beautifully-weighted passes or cheeky dinks over the top would have had everyone oohing and aahing for much longer had his name been Dan Carter, I have no doubt. 

So the Bulls machine rumbles on, though it will surely stop for some necessary tuning ahead of the Sydney clash with the Waratahs (Friday, 11:40).

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

Sport24

Comments
  • Blouvitrioel - 2012-05-04 15:12

    Kry meer punte as die opposisie. Dis al. Bul groete.

      Sean - 2012-05-04 16:39

      Morne Steyn is no Dan Carter and vice versa, simply because when Steyn's team,and that includes when he plays for the Boks,are on the front foot then its okay to sing his praises like "a return to bull’s-eye best off the tee". Wait till the reverse take place and the Bulls or the Boks have to chase the game then what. Can the man that wears pink as an outfit,Morne Steyn,change the cause of a game the way Carter does? That is something Heyneke Meyer would have to look at in deciding his best no10.Heyneke Meyer probably already know Steyn's weaknesses like most opposition does that he can't tackle s**t and when you have to rely solely on his kicking to try and win you matches than you won't win anything. Carter make linebreaks in midfield as if its going out of fashion and he tackles hard,but he is pathetic at drop goals,whereas Steyn excels with the boot between the post. The Boks needs an all-round goalkicker at No10 to display his wears,someone that can manage a game when your team is not on the front foot but on the backfoot aswell.Huge impact players at 12 and 13 is a key for a flyhalf to succeed when things do look static and flat.The No10 would need his impact players next to him to give him the extra few yards so he can get the angles that is needed to go forward when defences are rushing in and coming at you. Combinations are also vital when Heyneke Meyer picks his best 15 to face England in June.

      Jack - 2012-05-04 17:29

      Goodness - I think these 5 points are the first and last points the Bulls will get on tour. It seriously worries me that the man who organized that defence, is now also been tasked with organizing the bok defence. Nooit! - get Niehaber back immediately!!! Bulls should have won this game easily, but had to resort to desperation tactics in the last 10 minutes to keep out one of the worst teams in the competition! Sies! What a disgrace!

      henco.swart - 2012-05-04 19:33

      @ jackblack: It is also a disgrace that the Stormers have only gotten 1 bonus point, and that weren't due to 4 or more tries in a match, this season... I thought that WP/Stormers were the absolute flagship of what running rugby should be... With Habana, De Jongh, Aplon, Jean De Villiers, Pietersen. And you have NO bonuspoints for 4 or more tries scored in a match? What exactly is Robbie Fleck doing in that coaching team? Say, can anyone remember when last the Stormers could get a bonuspoint for 4 tries scored in a match? I agree, their defensive systems are very good. But where the Bulls are mocked for their '10-man- rugby', they have scored many more tries than the expansive WP and their rugby-culture. At the end of the day... 'Looks at the scoreboard.'

      Thomas - 2012-05-05 00:36

      jackblack and henco.swart! You both have very valid points, it is disturbing to know that the Bulls defencive coach is now the Boks coach, and the super backline of the Stormers cant produce a try bonus point!!!!! Is it the mindset of the players that needs to be looked at? Two of the tries were past Spies, it's his size and strength that should have stopped them!! He looked like he was directing traffic instead of putting his body on the line!!! Pier if you want to see what commitment is, look at Houghard!! As far as the Stormers go they have De Jong and Habana (when playing at centre) both very talented, but cannot read the situation in front of them and die with the ball!!! Try gone a begging!!! They are not the only ones there are a few more in the Stormers and the other franchises!!!! It is good to have a serious discussion about our rugby instead of childish rantings of some of the articles we read!!!

      Reon - 2012-05-05 04:21

      Pass don't just kick.ab

  • Stormkaap - 2012-05-04 15:15

    Why? Top of SA Conference, 3 time champions, 4th coming up. No worries

      CharlesDumbwin - 2012-05-04 15:27

      Arrogance is the downfall of everyone/everything. Look at Malema and his disciples. They're all gone down the toilet now

      Selma - 2012-05-04 15:39

      Stadig oor die klippe. Die Bule het teen alle verwagtinge na die groot uittog van hul Springbokke goed gevaar met die jong spelers wat hul siele uitspeel. Hul verdediging was die afgelope twee wedstryde net nie op standaard nie en hul gaan groot teespoed optel teen die groot kanonne. Dat hul dit kan vermag is nie te betwyfel nie, maar nie met die huidige verdedeging nie.

  • bill.vanzyl - 2012-05-04 15:25

    Outscoring the minnows of S15 is not a problem, and the Bulls deserve to be where they are on the log. What is going to happen when they come up against better attacking teams over in New Zealand? Jake White made the point some years ago when he said that it is defence that wins the really really big matches, not tries! Look at how few tries are scored in RWC finals!!!!!! A good kicker, be it Stransky, Wilkenson, Percy, or whomsoever will win the big ones for you by putting the critical kicks between the posts, but if your defence fails you will be on a hiding to nothing. From a non-provincialistic view I am worried about our defence at the national level. If a Bulls backline filled with Bok prospects can leak 10 tries so easily then there must be something wrong with the leadership, and the defence coach has just been signed for the Bok management team. I am worried.

      Stormkaap - 2012-05-04 15:28

      @Bill Gaan rook nog bietjie van jou aaptwakkies, Bulls top of the conference. Hulle het 2 games gehad waar die verdediging beter kon wees, behalwe vir daai 2 was hulle die beste defensive span in die kompetisie. 4de koppie oppad

      Kenny - 2012-05-04 15:38

      Ha Ha Ha! Bill Vanzyl is South Africas new comedian!

      bill.vanzyl - 2012-05-04 15:40

      Ja Ja ou Stormkaap. Die Bulle het 22 driee gedruk, na vandag se wedstryd, en 15 afgestaan. Net twee ander spanne het al 15 driee afgestaan, die Reds and die Western Force. Die Stormers het die minste afgestaan sover in 2012 - net 5, maar dis nie ter sprake nie, my probleem is met wat gaan gebeur op Bok vlak - gaan ons daar ook driee lek???

      Lean - 2012-05-04 15:41

      LoL 2nd Best D in tournament. Thats funny they got more tries scored against them in 1 game ( vs one of the weakest teams) than another team got scored against them in 7 games running. That sure is good.

      Selma - 2012-05-04 15:47

      We need the Bulls' attack and the Stormers' defence.

      frans.visserdsb - 2012-05-04 16:04

      I do agree with most of your comments, but it scares me spitless to think that anyone could think that 'has-never-been' Olivier or Sadie/Engelbrecht could be considered as Bok prospects. The only two players in the Bulls backline i would pick for the Bok side would be Basson and Hougaard...

      frans.visserdsb - 2012-05-04 16:11

      En Bill - die stats vir driee is actually - Bulle 33 drie vir, 21 teen, terwyl die stormers 16 vir en 9 teen het. Daar is geen twyfel die Stormers moet meer driee druk nie, maar ook is daar geen twyfel dat die Bulls hulle defence moet opskerp nie. 10 drie in die laaste twee games... eish. en dis nie asof die rebels baie drie gedruk het nie - hulle het nog net 17 gedruk die jaar, waarvan 5 vandag teen die bulle was. Hulle het net soveel driee as die Lions gehad voor die game- gesamentlik die minste drie in die kompetisie. en hulle het ook nou die meeste drie afgestaan in die kompetisie -34. so dis nie so moeilik om 5 drie te kry nie. Wat my worry is dat die Bulls se defensive coach nou die Bokke se defence coach is...

      Brendon - 2012-05-05 01:06

      Perfectly stated.

  • collinml - 2012-05-04 15:25

    Doesn't matter how many you concede, as long as you score more than the opposition. Winning is all that matters.

      Ross - 2012-05-05 11:16

      If winning is all that matters how come are the bulls above the stormers? The stormers have won more matches haven't they? Winning is all that matters only when we reach the knock-outs!

  • CharlesDumbwin - 2012-05-04 15:26

    What defence ??? Kurtley Beale walked through them like a hot knife through butter. If Bulls are serious about being contenders this year, they had better sort our their defence, AND QUICK !!! The next opposition won't be the Rebels ...

      Stirrer - 2012-05-04 16:06

      @Blouvieterjoel: Hoeveel breinselle het jy? Net 'n nommer asseblief, en dis ook nie moeilik nie. Jy hoef net tot by 1 te kan tel. Stormer groete.

  • Groenkoors - 2012-05-04 15:41

    Let me give you the script: Bulls in the top 3 defensive sides in the competition. John McFarland starts talks with the Boks. Bulls start leaking tries like a faucet. Make sense? SARU's lack of vision and consideration is ridiculous!!!

  • Deon - 2012-05-04 15:48

    At least they have scored 4 or more tries on 3 occoasions now. Stormers need to start scorring 4 tries for a change. Good defence win test matches, not Super titles.

  • Freddy - 2012-05-04 16:32

    One leak to plug is: Get rid of that "pink" abortion that is being worn. I would only wear it in support of cancer.

  • Sean - 2012-05-04 16:38

    Morne Steyn is no Dan Carter and vice versa, simply because when Steyn's team,and that includes when he plays for the Boks,are on the front foot then its okay to sing his praises like "a return to bull’s-eye best off the tee". Wait till the reverse take place and the Bulls or the Boks have to chase the game then what. Can the man that wears pink as an outfit,Morne Steyn,change the cause of a game the way Carter does? That is something Heyneke Meyer would have to look at in deciding his best no10.Heyneke Meyer probably already know Steyn's weaknesses like most opposition does that he can't tackle s**t and when you have to rely solely on his kicking to try and win you matches than you won't win anything. Carter make linebreaks in midfield as if its going out of fashion and he tackles hard,but he is pathetic at drop goals,whereas Steyn excels with the boot between the post. The Boks needs an all-round goalkicker at No10 to display his wears,someone that can manage a game when your team is not on the front foot but on the backfoot aswell.Huge impact players at 12 and 13 is a key for a flyhalf to succeed when things do look static and flat.The No10 would need his impact players next to him to give him the extra few yards so he can get the angles that is needed to go forward when defences are rushing in and coming at you. Combinations are also vital when Heyneke Meyer picks his best 15 to face England in June.

      Heiku - 2012-05-04 17:23

      Those pommies shake in their boots when then see Morne. I'm not worried.

  • johan.hattingh.5 - 2012-05-04 16:59

    Thats easy Rob, just give is back our defence coach!

  • Willie - 2012-05-04 18:12

    For a team that only departed from SA on Wednesday I am of the opinion that the Bulls played well; and they looked good in their new outfit. I am not a Bull supporter, that is reserved for the Cheetahs but I try to be objective. Well done Bulls, after overcoming the jet-lag you will play even better

  • Neels - 2012-05-05 14:50

    ...the rangy JJ Engelbrecht is still having one or two organisational issues defensively in his new posting at outside centre... Rob, is ek bloot dom? Ek weet nie wat jy hier wil se nie...

      Stormsaam - 2012-05-05 20:02

      @Neels Hoekom wonder jy, dis mos baie duidelik hoe dom jy is

  • Roger - 2012-05-05 23:41

    Final 6 no bs: Stormers Chiefs Brumbies Bulls Highlanders Crusaders Stormers will have to play Bulls in the playoffs-very unfair as they will have just played each other. With the Chiefs they are the top three teams in the competition. Brumbies get there as top Oz team and with Jake White raising them to the top....who knows?? Moenie worrie nie - watch net. Julle sal sien ek's reg!

  • tony.raft1 - 2012-05-06 10:55

    Hey Jackblack - Yawn! You stormers guys are the pits!

  • Staal - 2012-05-06 14:25

    What worries me is that John MacFarland, the defence coach of the Bulls, has been signed on as the defence coach of the Boks. If the Boks leak tries like the Bulls, we will be in serious trouble against International outfits.

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