Bulls need to fix shaky scrum

    2016-04-04 13:17

    Cape Town - The Bulls are undefeated since the opening weekend of Super Rugby, but their scrum against the Cheetahs on Saturday was cause for concern. 

    The Bulls won the match 23-18 with three first-half tries, but the second half performance and the scrums in particular were worrying for coach Nollis Marais and captain Adriaan Strauss. 

    In total, the Bulls conceded four scrum penalties off their own ball, and Marais says that contributed greatly to them allowing the Cheetahs back into the game.

    "Our set pieces put us under pressure in the second half. I think that was the only thing that gave them momentum. If we handled the set pieces better then we were in control of the game," Marais said after the match.

    "The energy gets sucked from you. You get a scrum penalty, lineout, maul … scrum penalty, lineout, maul. And if you’re on the back foot the whole time you don’t get front-foot ball."

    Strauss agreed, and encouraged his players to be better.

    "You need to be up for it every single week. The last three games we were quite good at set phases and today sadly we weren’t," said Strauss.

    "As players we take responsibility for that. Tonight we just didn’t pitch up. It’s not an individual thing … everyone played … and throughout we struggled except for the first scrum of the game.

    "It’s a team thing … it’s something as a pack of forwards that we need to fix and throughout the season there are ups and downs in a lot of aspects." 

    The Bulls were forced into a change late in the first half when loosehead Lizo Gqoboka was forced to leave the field with an injury. 

    He was replaced by Trevor Nyakane, but Marais refused to use that disruption as an excuse. 

    "I would have liked to make the change later in the game but it’s not an excuse because you’ve got Trevor and Marcel scrumming together and they’ve been scrumming well … you’ve got a Bok front row," the coach said.

    The Bulls are next in action when they travel to Port Elizabeth for a date with the Kings on Saturday.

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