Bulls skipper: We showed we have the talent

    2018-03-23 16:34

    Cape Town - Bulls captain Burger Odendaal remains upbeat despite the Pretoria franchise finishing their Australasian tour without a victory.

    The Bulls completed their three-game tour on Friday with a 33-14 loss to the Crusaders in Christchurch.

    They lost 20-14 to the Reds and 41-28 to the Chiefs in their opening tour matches, leaving John Mitchell's charges 1-5 on the season.

    The Bulls did show glimpses of their potential on tour, having scored some spectacular tries.

    They led the Reds 14-3 and the Chiefs 28-14 but were unable to keep the momentum.

    "It's been a difficult tour for us and there's a lot to work on when we go back home," Odendaal said after Friday’s loss in Christchurch. "But the boys can keep their heads up. I think we showed some great talent and just have to finish that off."

    The defending champions, meanwhile, snapped a two-game losing streak with their bonus point win.

    The Crusaders scored five tries to two, including a brace for Jack Goodhue, making the most of wet conditions in a match that featured plenty of turnovers and handling errors.

    The Crusaders, coming off their first back-to-back losses in five years, welcomed back skipper Sam Whitelock and Ryan Crotty from injury.

    "The conditions made the rugby pretty tight but we adapted as the game went on... at times the skills were great," Whitelock said, as quoted by AFP.

    It was also the fourth loss in a row for the Bulls, who face a tough South African derby at home against the Stormers next week.

    It also means the Crusaders have not lost to the Bulls in Christchurch since 1996, a sequence that now extends to 11 consecutive home wins.

    The Crusaders put themselves on the defensive by conceding four early penalties but the Bulls remained scoreless after repeatedly opting to run the ball rather than take three points.

    After soaking up 15 minutes of pressure, the home side then scored off their first meaningful attack when Scott Barrett crossed after a lineout drive.

    Referee Federico Anselmi initially ruled Barrett had not grounded the ball properly but the television match official overturned the decision and awarded the points.

    Crusaders prop Tim Perry was sin-binned for a high tackle but it did not slow their momentum as Codie Taylor scored from another lineout drive.

    However, Perry's absence was felt when the Bulls got on top at scrum time, releasing winger Travis Ismaiel, who weaved around five players for a try.

    Goodhue restored the Crusaders' 14-point buffer when he held off three defenders to barge over the line just before half-time.

    The centre then scored his second try eight minutes after the restart, going under the posts after a penalty put the Crusaders on attack.

    Marco van Staden closed the gap for the Bulls but Crusaders wing George Bridge immediately hit back to secure the bonus point.

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