Honest Mitchell finds no positives, slams Bulls effort

    2018-05-21 17:15

    Brenden Nel - SuperSport

    Pretoria - A clearly frustrated John Mitchell was brutally honest when asked about his side’s performance after losing 54-24 to the Jaguares in Buenos Aires on Saturday.

    Asked if there were any positives he could take out of the game, Mitchell told “No, none.”

    The coach wasn’t happy with both the attitude and aggression shown by the Bulls, as he revealed when asked a simple question about whether the speed and accuracy of the Jaguares line-speed was the difference between the two teams.

    “No, it was attitude,” Mitchell snapped.

    To say the Bulls were ever in the contest would be kind, as they played catch-up rugby from the start and never looked like they could cope with the intensity and speed of the Jaguares effort.

    And for their hopes of qualifying for the playoffs, the loss was a serious blow, especially as the Sharks and Lions also won and there are simply just four games left.

    “I’m disappointed in the performance in the fact that it is the first time that we have shown softness,” Mitchell said, but vowed this was not the end of their campaign.

    “We’re still within a fight. We will obviously have to fight for (No) 2 now and at the end of the day we need to control our own destiny. The one thing about a loss is you have to get over it quickly but no, this conference is not over yet.”

    Mitchell refused to blame the poor start for the defeat, focusing rather on the attitude of the players on the field as they were blown away.

    “The bad start wasn’t actually so much of a setback because we scored pretty quickly afterwards and we got ourselves into a spot where if (Thembelani) Bholi scored shortly afterwards we would have gone ahead, so clearly there was some decision making that was average in that early period but guys managed to recover and re-establish their authority with ball in hand,” he explained.

    And he wasn’t about to blame the referee (Federico Anselmi) either.

    “It was always going to be difficult with an Argentine ref but you have to get over those type of things. As it turned out it didn’t have any bearing. But as for the side’s ability to adapt, mate no we were just poor.”

    The one player who did get some praise in tough conditions was young flyhalf Manie Libbok who tried hard in a losing effort.

    “Manie did fantastic for his first game. He was let down up front in my view. Considering that he still played with exceptional confidence and the skillset suggests he has a bright future.”

    The Bulls will be licking their wounds at Loftus Versfeld on Monday and also have to contend with the possible injury loss of Hendre Stassen and Frans van Wyk, both who will be under the spotlight on Monday with undetermined injuries.

    They face the Brumbies at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday (15:05 kick-off), so there won’t be much time for wallowing in the defeat.

    And given Mitchell’s comments on the performance, he is unlikely to let them do so in any case.

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