Mallett: Bulls won physical battle

    2016-05-23 11:50

    Cape Town - Former Springbok coach Nick Mallett says the Bulls’ physicality on defence won them the game against the Stormers.

    The men from Pretoria extended their unbeaten record at home in this year’s Super Rugby competition when they beat the Cape side 17-13 on Saturday night.

    Speaking in the SuperSport studio after the game, Mallett said:

    “Wonderful, physical defence won this for the Bulls. I can’t speak enough about the efforts of RG Snyman and Jannes Kirsten who did tremendously today. It was wave after wave of Stormers attack and the two of them just hit ball-carriers and drove them back.

    “The Bulls scrum held up well and that was crucial today. They managed to steal a few lineouts and on the gainline their physicality was far better than anything they showed in those last two games on tour against the Brumbies and Waratahs.

    “Both teams realised that the team dominating physically was going to win and tried their best at the set piece. Then it came to the breakdown and because the Stormers were so lateral in the last two games against the Waratahs and Sunwolves, they were much more direct today and tried to get the driving maul going. But full credit must go to the Bulls for the way they countered the maul and that directness of the Stormers attack.”

    Mallett though was not overly impressed by the quality on display at Loftus Versfeld.

    “The Bulls and Stormers are trying to evolve from a territory and set-piece orientated game and it’s going to take time. But what they have to have is a No 10 dominating his forwards and scrumhalf as to who he wants on the ball. He should be the chief communicator and they have to listen to him,” he said.

    “Not one of the flyhalves at Loftus controlled the game well, which is why the game was of such a low quality. A flyhalf is supposed to set the play in motion, deciding who takes the ball forward between the forwards and the backs. In this game, I had the feeling the flyhalves were very much out of it.

    “Neither Francois Brummer nor Jean-Luc du Plessis seized control in the way Pat Lambie and Elton Jantjies did in their respective matches. And that lessened the quality of the contest. If you play off No 9, and off kicks with a lot of physicality around the forwards, you are never going to get the variety that we’ve seen from the Lions.”

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