Mitchell laments Bulls defensive woes
Pretoria - Bulls coach John Mitchell was scathing in his assessment of his team’s defensive woes over the past weekend when they went down against the Sunwolves and called for a massive improvement ahead of their last home game in this year’s Super Rugby tournament against the Jaguares this Saturday.
The Bulls can do the Lions and Sharks a massive favour with a victory against the Argentinean side, but it won’t be easy as the South Americans have won seven on a trot now and if they win on Saturday will pass the Lions to go top of the log.
Mitchell told SuperSport.com that while it would be nice to do other sides a favour, it simply was more about getting the performance right after a disappointing outing in Singapore last Saturday.
“It is not really about them, it is about making sure we finish off with performances that we started our season off with, with the energy and intent. Ultimately that is more important and if we happen to look after our opposition, then that is great as well. But ultimately it is about us getting the right performance,” he explained.
“Defensively we have to improve big time, you know. We are just leaking soft tries. Everyone knows about the injuries and everyone knows how deep we’re digging in our depth but at the end of the day you have a responsibility when you are selected to take pride in your goal line.”
While the team’s attack flourished over the season and their set piece was strong in Singapore, poor defensive errors ultimately cost them the game against the Asian side this past weekend.
“Ultimately at the end of the day attack looks nice and puts bums on the seats, but if you want to win championships you have to hang your head on defence and I guess the most disappointing thing is that it is something we took real pride in at the early part of the competition and it is something we seem to have lost real identity in the last three performances. I guess ultimately that will bring a complete performance if we are able to dig deep in that area. Because clearly we are able to attack.”
While defence is many times an attitude, Mitchell is adamant that he is getting a bit thin on depth in certain areas, but doesn’t want to use that as an excuse.
“Ultimately the group at the moment that we are selecting is all that is available. We are very thin and that is what the reality is. It is optimising and becoming cohesive with what we have. I think we will definitely be better as a result of playing another game together but it has been a patch-up job. Some guys are actually playing right now when they aren’t where they need to be from a fitness point of view, in my view, but that is just what we have to do. But we have to play them otherwise we wouldn’t have a team.”
The Bulls will select their side to face the Jaguares on Thursday.
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