Spies concerned, but confident
Pretoria - In the wake of their second consecutive defeat at home, the Bulls seem to be taking one step forward and two step backwards with the Hurricanes beating the hosts 17-13 at Loftus Versfeld on Friday.
Bulls coach Frans Ludeke conceded that their struggles at the scrums and lineouts were further compounded by giving away turnovers at the rucks.
"It was a tight contest going down to the wire and in a contest like that small margins make a huge difference," Ludeke said.
"We had good opportunities in the right areas ... and almost losing your bread and butter position, that is costly."
As was the case a week ago in their defeat to the Stormers, the Light Blues made a promising start to the match with a dominant display in the first minutes.
Failing to convert this pressure into points, they allowed the tourists into the match and with that they lost their sense of urgency.
Bulls captain Pierre Spies said their inability to capitalise when they had momentum on their side was a concern, but he was confident they would be able to bounce back against the Sharks at Loftus Versfeld next week.
"We are not converting pressure into points, what happened in the past two weeks is that we get into the right position and we make mistakes," Spies said.
"That is something we need to work on, we believe we are doing the right things but we are not executing it well enough.
"We believe we are on the right track and the players know we need to step it up and hopefully next week we can get a better performance."
Ludeke said there were some improvements from last weekend with their scrum looking a tad better.
"We were in the contest especially with the scrums. In the second half we were creating huge pressure there," he said.
"There were maybe one or two calls that could have created penalty opportunities, but if you lose your set-piece ball like last week you miss out on some golden opportunities to build pressure.
"We created opportunities from broken field, the set-piece was a battle from both sides, Jesse Kriel's line break just before half-time that was a great convert, and that is more of what you want."
The breakdown area was of particular concern to Ludeke which he termed a lottery.
"I thought we needed some numbers, there were two or three opportunities at the breakdown and we just had one or two guys there," Ludeke said.
"It was from linebreaks where the carrier was isolated and we needed support to get there quicker. We won't whine and we need to look after ourselves at that breakdown area.
"You need to win your own set-piece and you need to have the ability to keep it at the breakdown area."
While the Bulls were scratching their heads over their start to the season, the Hurricanes could not have asked for a better tour of South Africa.
The New Zealand franchise leave these shores with victories over the Lions and the Bulls, the first time since 2010 they had won their first two matches of the season.
While Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd was happy about leaving South Africa with eight points in the bag, he cautioned that all the good work could be undone if they did not improve.
"We are certainly happy with the eight points but I am not overly happy with the way we played. But at the end of the day we came for points and we got it, so we are delighted," Boyd said.
"It is a 16-round competition, to get two (victories) is great but if you lose your next two or three you've wasted the opportunity. But we are certainly delighted to start well especially at Ellis Park and Loftus."