Super Rugby

Bulls' late lapses a concern for Marais

Nollis Marais (Gallo Images)
Nollis Marais (Gallo Images)

Pretoria - Bulls head coach Nollis Marais is baffled by his side's inability to deliver a full 80-minute performance in their Super Rugby matches.

The men from Pretoria's victories over the Rebels, Sunwolves and Cheetahs were characterised by them dominating the early stages but lapses in concentration in the second half of those matches allowed their opponents back in.

In Saturday's clash against the Cheetahs, the Bulls raced in to 15-3 lead and were 20-10 up at half-time but were made to work hard in the second half before securing a 23-18 victory.

"I think it's more a focus thing," said Marais at the post-match press conference.

"You are looking at a young side that's playing well and then suddenly they lose a bit of momentum and then they stop playing.

"I don't think it's a fitness thing because we’ve done the tests and we are better than where we were last year - we are fitter than last year. We might need to work on the intensity or work rate or something else.

"I can't give you the correct answer."

Marais feels the Cheetahs' dominance at the scrums in the second half gave them momentum.

"If we handled the set pieces better, then we would have been in control of the game," he added.

"We played very well in the first half, scored beautiful tries, moved the ball around, and an in the second half the set pieces put us under pressure.

"They (Cheetahs) got their momentum from that. It is something we were good at in the last three matches."