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    Bulls going back to basics

    2016-05-27 12:31

    Lloyd Burnard - Sport24

    Cape Town - Bulls coach Nollis Marais has opened up on the struggles facing his side in their endeavor to move towards a more expansive brand of rugby.

    The Bulls and Stormers, in particular, have been vocal all season on their desires to play attractive, attacking rugby. 

    But it hasn't always worked out. 

    The Stormers have shown glimpses throughout the campaign that they are moving in the right direction, but last weekend's loss to the Bulls was a stark reminder that they still have a long way to go. 

    With almost two-thirds of the possession in that game, the Stormers struggled to spark anything going forward. 

    The Bulls, meanwhile, almost shut up shop against the Stormers and momentarily abandoned their new philosophy as they scrapped their way over the finish line. 

    It is an interesting dynamic - the balance between winning games by any means necessary while also looking to play entertaining rugby. 

    The very clear idea is that South African teams need to perfect the art of the running game if they are to keep up with their New Zealand counterparts, but Marais explained this week that he has realised the importance of respecting the basics. 

    "From the beginning everyone was on about this brand of rugby and we want to play a bit more of an expansive game," he said.

    "We lost that a bit in the middle when we played guys like the Brumbies and Waratahs where the first thing you’ve got to do is dominate your set pieces ... if you try and play an expansive game, you can concede turnovers, and you give guys momentum."

    The Bulls lost heavily to both the Brumbies (23-6) and Waratahs (31-8) while on tour, and Marais says they have learnt a few lessons from those matches.

    "We always said we were going to be an advantage line team," he said.

    "I think we tried to go too much towards an expansive game in the beginning and we first should have sorted out the smaller things like dominating the set pieces and lineouts.

    "Be physical, because if you do that … like the Lions … you earn the right to go wide."

    The Bulls, the only side still undefeated at home this season, host the Lions in a massive local derby at Loftus on Saturday. 

    Kick-off is at 17:10.

    Teams:

    Bulls

    15 SP Marais, 14 Jamba Ulengo, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Arno Botha, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Lappies Labuschagne, 5 RG Snyman, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Lizo Gqoboka

    Substitutes: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Pierre Schoeman, 19 Grant Hattingh, 20 Deon Stegmann, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Tian Schoeman, 23 Dries Swanepoel

    Lions

    15 Sylvian Mahuza, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Dylan Smith

    Substitutes: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Jacques van Rooyen, 19 Ruan Ackermann, 20 Cyle Brink, 21 Ross Cronjé, 22 Howard Mnisi, 23 Ashlon Davids

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    Fixtures

    Saturday, 17 February 2018
    • Stormers v Jaguares, Cape Town 15:05
    • Lions v Sharks, Emirates Airlines Park 17:15
    Friday, 23 February 2018
    • Highlanders v Blues, 08:35
    • Rebels v Reds, AAMI Park 10:45
    Saturday, 24 February 2018
    • Sunwolves v Brumbies, Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium 06:15
    • Crusaders v Chiefs, 08:35
    • Waratahs v Stormers, Allianz Stadium 10:45
    • Lions v Jaguares, Emirates Airlines Park 15:05
    • Bulls v Hurricanes, Loftus Versfeld 17:15

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