Botha confident Bulls can fix scrum woes
Cape Town - Some days it works for you and some days it doesn’t.
That’s the view of Bulls scrum coach Gary Botha after his side came off second best against the Stormers in their opening Super Rugby clash on the weekend.
To put it simply, the Bulls scrum was dominated by their counterparts, and as coach Nollis Marais so eloquently spelt it out - if you don’t have a set-piece, then you can’t attack.
Botha fronted up after the weekend’s carnage in Cape Town, reiterating that his side shouldn’t be judged on one performance, and reminding all who would listen that this is a very long competition and lots can happen over time.
“Obviously it was the first game of Super Rugby. It was the same issue as last year, I just don’t think we completely had the rhythm in the game, but well done to them," Botha told supersport.com.
“Their preparation was key. We know what we did wrong and the good thing about it is that it is the first round of the competition. I guess it’s back to the drawing board and we have to work on the things we did wrong,” he said.
“I can’t comment for the players on the pitch but that was one of their tactics and they executed it well. In the second half the guys pulled it together and more or less started matching it.
“It is one of those derby matches, one team will always prepare better than the other team - not that I am implying that we didn’t prepare good enough. But I think execution on the day was probably better from them.”
Botha said he believes the team can fix the problems, and was quick to defend Springbok Trevor Nyakane, who packed down at tighthead in the match, after a barrage of criticism after he copped several penalties.
“The emphasis will definitely be on execution, specific possessions and specific parts of the game. Definitely come scrum time this week against the Cheetahs will be the same. We definitely worked on it and we have a couple of things we sorted out and hopefully come the weekend we can go and execute better than we did the last weekend,” Botha explained.
“I believe it can be a quick fix. If you look at the way the game has gone, technically it has become a battlefield and all pressure driven.
“One knows it goes part and parcel with pressure, whoever can put the pressure on the most and utilise it. That goes down to technicality and we have done our work on it.
“Nevertheless they are still a good outfit and I don’t think you should judge a team purely on one game, but hey it is back to the drawing board and we need to prep for this weekend.”
Botha said Nyakane was unfairly targeted as video replays had shown how JC Janse van Rensburg had used a short bind which wasn’t picked up by the referee.
“My feeling is that it is one-sided. My only opinion is see what the law says - a loosehead must bind long, I didn’t see a long bind,” he explained.
“It may sound like sour grapes but the referee needs to interpret it, but if he doesn’t interpret it like that, and it doesn’t go your way, its like that.
“Maybe next time it goes your way. That is just the issue I struggle with is the interpretation of the rules and we have to adapt to that.
“We will have a look at it and see where we can prepare our players better for when certain things don’t go their way on the pitch. It’s pretty much adapt or die.”
And now that they have been shown up in one area, the Cheetahs this weekend will look to exploit that a second time.
The challenge for Botha and his charges is to ensure one bad day at the office doesn’t become a habit. And that starts with a solid set-piece.
Read the story on supersport.com