Pretoria - On the face of it the rain, hail and lightning saved the Blue Bulls of a big hiding on their home ground at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday, with coach Pote Human having a big task this week to get his side up for a return clash at Newlands in the Currie Cup semi-finals on Saturday, SuperSport.com reports.
The freak storm that reduced the game to just 40 minutes may have provided more than a game’s food for thought for both sides, with Western Province confirming their role as the competition leaders in that time with four tries against a team that only confirmed they never knew how to handle the downpour.
Human was pulling his hair out at the attempts of his side to try and play ball-in-hand rugby in atrocious conditions, while Province concentrated more on territory, and a stern defence to place pressure on the Bulls.
And in the downpour the Bulls wilted, made mistakes and WP pounced.
The rain didn’t hide the massive difference between the two sides and with just six days to the semi-finals, the hopes in Pretoria that the Bulls may be able to turn it around may be a bit of a long stretch.
But rugby is a funny game and with better conditions and a bit of hope, Human is hoping his team can well be a better unit when they meet their southern opponents on Saturday.
“I’ve said to the guys after the game, the one positive thing is that everyone is on zero,” Human said after the game.
“It is a once off. If we can pitch and play like we can, I think we can surprise them but it is going to be very difficult especially in Cape Town. We know now why they are unbeaten. They came for 40 minutes and played for 40 minutes.”
The Bulls know the biggest point they need to fix this week is the scrum. Wilco Louw’s exceptional performance at tighthead reduced their set-piece to a shambles and in the rain cost them a yellow card, penalty try and a lot of pride.
And considering that Louw played his junior rugby at the Bulls before returning to Cape Town, the irony couldn’t be sweeter for John Dobson and co.
Still, parity in the set-pieces is one thing, but the Bulls have played in fits and starts all season and to come up against a Province side that has swept all before them makes the task a lot tougher.
They will be hoping complacency sets in at Newlands as the home side are already eyeing a home final, but they will also know a massive storm hid their own inefficiencies during those 40 minutes of rugby that played out in the rain.
Somehow the Bulls will need to find more than just a little hope if they are to come out on top at Newlands.