Bulls need ‘big time’ improvement as Stormers derby looms

    2018-03-28 16:27

    Brenden Nel - SuperSport

    Pretoria - It may be a steep learning curve from the helter-skelter of sevens rugby, but Tim Agaba believes his Bulls team-mates can learn from their mistakes quickly enough to put up a performance to be proud of ahead of this weekend’s Super Rugby derby against the Stormers at Loftus Versfeld.

    Agaba, who made his debut against the Crusaders last week, spoke to ahead of the big derby game.

    “It reciprocates what happened in the Chiefs’ game. I felt in the first half we didn’t do too badly and in the second half we went to sleep. The Crusaders kept the game up top there and we didn’t play with them,” Agaba explained.

    “There are certain areas we need to improve on big time. And there are certain areas if we don’t improve on throughout this tournament they are going to cost us big time. We will look at ourselves closely this week and rectify the wrongs of the tour.

    “We are generally (a) young team. I think over the last couple of months, including the Currie Cup, we’ve learnt a lot of lessons already. Hopefully we will learn from them going into the rest of the Super Rugby competition because there is no room for much error in the competition.

    “You can’t make the same mistakes over and over again and week in and week out. We are going to have to fix the mistakes that are costing us at the moment and hopefully that will pick us up for the remainder of the tournament.”

    The big No 8, who stands at 1.93m and 106kg, is a product of Stirling High School in East London and was born in Kampala, Uganda before moving to East London when he was still in school. Now he is looking to make a big impact after already impressing in Sevens, where he has won an Olympic bronze medal and was part of the World Series winning Blitzbok team.

    Agaba added that it was a frustrating tour not getting the victories the team came close too, but knows the Stormers derby is a massive game.

    “It is definitely frustrating not to get the wins but we back our processes, systems and plan we just need to execute better and it will come off for us,” he added.

    “It doesn’t get bigger. It is the big South African derby here at Loftus and a nice one to be part of for me and I’m looking forward to it.

    “What is important to us is that we don’t go to sleep, we can’t rest on our laurels and we don’t focus on our losses. We got to fix what we can and take it into this game.

    “We’ll never go into a game planning on losing but it is a big one for us.”

    Despite the loss of Lood de Jager to injury this week, Agaba believes the team won’t be severely hampered by whoever takes his place. Hanro Liebenberg has been eyed to be the replacement at lock, along with Jason Jenkins to take on the Stormers lineout.

    “Lood does lead our lineouts but we have a system in place and everyone in the squad has to buy into that system so if we lose one, we gain one. We lose personnel but we don’t lose anything besides that and the next guy that steps in will know his job and sort that out.

    “I did get a bit of the systems during the Currie Cup and nothing much has changed from then. I’ve of course had to focus on very technical things. There is a core group of guys in the team that have made the transition very easy for me and I’m feeling comfortable and finding my feet well.”

    Agaba can’t wait to face off with the Stormers Springboks in Siya Kolisi and Nizaam Carr, both of whom he looks up to.

    “That’s the reason why I’m playing Super Rugby in the first place so I can play against the best in the world to see exactly where I am and where I fit in. Guys like Nizaam and Siya are fantastic players and I have a lot of respect for them but we are all rugby players and hopefully we can get on top of them this weekend."

    Either way, the Bulls No 8 will want to make an impression and make it fast. The Bulls need a win badly at the moment, and he knows that all too well.

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    Friday, 31 January 2020
    • Blues v Chiefs, Eden Park 08:05
    • Brumbies v Reds, GIO Stadium 10:15
    • Sharks v Bulls, Jonsson Kings Park Stadium 19:10
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    • Crusaders v Waratahs, Trafalgar Park 08:05
    • Stormers v Hurricanes, Cape Town 15:05
    • Jaguares v Lions, Estadio Jose Amalfitani 23:40
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