Bulls ready to ‘tackle’ tour



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Following their historic first ever win in Canberra at the weekend, a 19-7 triumph over the Brumbies, the Bulls are now ready to literally “tackle” the rest of their tour from hell with confidence.

After their morale-boosting win over the Brumbies, the Bulls head to Sydney where they will face the Waratahs on Saturday – followed by encounters with the Crusaders (in Christchurch), Highlanders in Dunedin and Hurricanes (in Wellington) on consecutive weekends.

While an obviously delighted Bulls captain Victor Matfield and coach Heyneke Meyer were full of praise for the team’s discipline on defence, Brumbies captain George Smith also had some special praise for the men from Pretoria.

After the Bulls had taken a 19-0 lead at half-time with some clinical rugby, the Brumbies threw everything they had at the Bulls in the next 40 minutes – with their only reward being a 46th minute try and conversion.

For 34 minutes the Bulls stopped numerous raids on their line and while there were a couple of half-chances, the Brumbies never really looked like scoring.

“We always knew they would be coming out pretty hard in that [defensive] area,” Brumbies captain George Smith said. “We tried to spread the ball wide, but they were pretty strong with their defence in midfield and it was tough getting outside that area.”

Smith felt his team “contributed” to their own downfall by giving away too many turnovers – 14 in all.

“The turnovers we gave to them, especially in the first half, cost the game. You can’t afford to give any team that much possession. You simply can’t win a game like that,” he added.

The Bulls captain, Matfield, also spoke of his team’s defensive effort.

“I hope we can take some confidence out of this,” Matfield said.

“It’s our first victory ever here over a great Brumbies side. It wasn’t a great performance but we were very clinical in the first half and our defence held out.”

The Bulls coach, Meyer, also saluted his side’s defence.

“I’ve taken a few 40-and 50-point beatings in Canberra over the years, so this is a marvelous change,” Meyer said.

“It worked so well in having such a good first half, and then when we couldn’t get our hands on the ball in the second half, our defence came to the fore. In the end, our defence won it for us.”

Meyer also spoke about the difficulties that await them on tour.

“We have never been away for five weeks before, and this win will be so important in revitalising everyone,” said Meyer.

“Even before we left South Africa I thought there was a very good vibe in the team . But we are not getting ahead of ourselves. We know that the game against the Waratahs in Sydney will be difficult because they are a great side and have a very impressive defence.”

However, the news on the injury front is not so positive.

FRullback Johan Roets injured medial ligaments in his knee and it is uncertain how serious it is. Jaco van der Westhuyzen, who moved to fullback when he left the field, will wear the No.15 jersey if Roets doesn’t recover in time for the Sydney showdown. Akona Ndungane will reclaim his spot on the wing.

Fly-half Derick Hougaard took a heavy knock to the head and also injured his shoulder. However, they have a more than able replacement in Morn’ Steyn.


365 Digital

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