Jono Ross chats to Sport24

    2014-03-07 10:40
    Cape Town - Twenty-three-year-old back-rower Jono Ross discusses the criticism the Bulls have endured so far this season, the leadership lessons he’s learned from Victor Matfield and facing the Blues at Loftus on Saturday…

    Sport24 asked: Back-to-back losses and then victory over the Lions. How would you sum up the Bulls’ campaign thus far?

    Jono Ross: Our first two losses were far from ideal. To use a well-worn cliché we failed to turn pressure into points. While I agree that we are not yet the well-oiled machine, which we believe we can be, I don’t agree that our game plan has been the issue but rather our execution thereof.

    Sport24 asked: It’s no secret the Bulls are under public pressure. How do you cope with criticism?

    Jono Ross: The trick is to take criticism from where it comes… If it stems from one of the coaches within our system, I take it as constructive and use it to the benefit of my game. However, if it comes from a commentator or journalist, for example, I won’t pay too much attention. That said, I resonate with the quote which reads:  “If you don’t have critics, you probably don’t have success either.” Having won three Super Rugby titles, the Bulls will endure criticism when not performing to peak.

    Sport24 asked: How did your spell at Saracens assist in your development as a player and person?

    Jono Ross: My time at Saracens was a great experience albeit a short one. Leaving the Bulls at the time was not ideal for me and I learned how quickly something can be taken away from one. The experience taught me to fight hard for my place in the team and to never rest on my laurels.

    Sport24 asked: On your return, tell us about your transition from Currie Cup to Super Rugby level…

    Jono Ross: Captaining the Blue Bulls’ Currie Cup side last season instilled in me a confidence, which in turn, allowed me to truly express myself as a leader. I believe the transition between the two competitions for myself and number of other players for that matter, was made that much easier owing to the fact that the Bulls squad is such a tight-knit group.

    Sport24 asked: How would you describe your style of leadership and what have you learnt from Victor Matfield, for example?

    Jono Ross: When the chips are down my captaincy style is to motivate those around me by leading by example. Often it’s easier to display what’s required through actions rather than words. While I relish a leadership role, there’s never just one leader in a side. I agree with the notion of each player being a captain in their own position. In terms of Victor, his experience at international and Super Rugby level speaks for itself. He is an understated leader who makes really smart on-field decisions. Both he and Flip van der Merwe are doing a great job and in terms of our game plan, I’ve taken heed of how they are able to spot the finer details and make amendments where and when necessary.

    Sport24 asked: You’ve been selected at eighthman? for this weekend’s battle with the Blues. How does the role differ having fulfilled the duty of a blindside flanker in round three?

    Jono Ross: Playing at No 6 was obviously a new experience for me. Where blindside flank differs from the role of an eighthman is that one plays more towards the ball and thus hits more rucks, whereas at NO 8 one tends to carry the ball more often. Playing at blindside was a good experience for me as I continue to work hard on improving my fetching abilities.

    Sport24 asked: Deon Stegmann returns to the starting side after an injury layoff. Your assessment?

    Jono Ross: There’s no doubt that Deon’s return is a massive boost owing to his experience and technique. I’ve observed that the Blues put a lot of pressure on at the breakdown and as such his practical knowledge in that area of play and work over the ball will prove invaluable.

    Sport24 asked: Do you, however, believe that the fetching role should be shared amongst a number of individuals?

    Jono Ross: Yes. A player like Deon is obviously very strong at the breakdown and most notably on defence, pundits primarily expect a blindside flanker to fulfil the fetching role. However, don’t forget that there is also an attacking aspect to the position. On attack, fetching truly is an entire team dynamic – even backs have shown their ability in this regard. Equally on defence, it’s up to all members of the side to clean the ruck.

    Sport24 asked: Tell us what Frans Ludeke is like behind-the-scenes. He seems quite principled in approach. How best would you describe him as a man and mentor?

    Jono Ross: Frans plays a significant role within our side and I don’t feel he gets enough credit from those outside the Bulls’ camp. He’s a wonderful man and mentor and comes to work every day highly motivated. He has a great way with the players and always seems to know just what to say or do to keep our spirits high. And, in my opinion, anyone that can juggle a demanding day job with triplets at home has to be a bit special!

    Sport24 asked: Outline for us the primary threats the Blues are set to pose this Saturday?  What type of game plan needs to be employed in order to counter their attacking intent?

    Jono Ross: The Blues are certainly a dangerous side, evidenced by their come-from-behind win over the Crusaders last week. The fact that they scored four tries in 13 minutes proves just how dangerous their strike-runners can be. They are a special side and while most noted for their attacking prowess, I believe they possess a solid all-round game. As such, we will continue to play to our strengths and stick to the game plan put in place… We believe it remains the right way to play rugby.


    Johan Ackermann

    Japie Mulder

    Makhaya Ntini

    Andre Joubert

    James Dalton

    Shaun Pollock

    Jonathan Kaplan

    James Small

    Pat Symcox

    Joe van Niekerk

    Nick Mallett

    Heyneke Meyer

    Tiaan Strauss

    John Mitchell

    David Campese

    Dean Furman

    Read More On:  bulls super 15 pretoria rugby

    What To Read Next

    Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

    Comment on this story
    Comments have been closed for this article.
    Live Video Streaming
    Sport Talk


    No results are available


    Rank Team P W Pts

    Opinion Poll

    Which South African franchise stands the best chance of winning this year's Super Rugby title?

    The ultimate Super Rugby quiz!

    There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.