Super Rugby

Mitchell: Bulls recovery could take time

John Mitchell (Gallo Images)
John Mitchell (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Bulls coach John Mitchell says their fans need to be patient as he attempts to bring back the glory days to the Pretoria franchise.

The Bulls are South Africa’s most successful Super Rugby side - having won the competition three times - in 2007, 2009 and 2010.

But they have fallen by the wayside in recent years and Mitchell was roped in last year after the Bulls finished 15th on the standings, winning just four of 15 games.

The Bulls started the 2018 season with an impressive home win over the Hurricanes (21-19), before suffering back-to-back defeats against the Lions 49-35 (Pretoria) and Reds 20-14 (Brisbane).

They face the Chiefs in Hamilton on Friday - a team and region Mitchell knows well having coached them in 2001 and also playing his provincial rugby for the Waikato province.

Mitchell knows it will be a tough encounter for his new team but has urged fans to keep the faith

“It's a team effort, we have to turn it around. Clearly, we know where we want to head to and we know what we want to do, it's just the timeline, we don't know how long it'll take," Mitchell told the Stuff.co.nz website.

Mitchell added that the big challenge for the Bulls is keeping the core group together in the face of the threat posed by the currency in Britain, France and Japan.

"I'm very happy being at the Bulls, and that's my club, and I'm really enjoying it. And we've only just started the process, so it's about finishing the process and making sure that we leave the club in a really good position to be able to become one of the best clubs in this competition again."

Friday’s clash at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton kicks off at 08:35 (SA time).

Teams:

Chiefs

15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Sean Wainui, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Johnny Fa'auli, 11 Solomon Alaimalo, 10 Tiaan Falcon, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Liam Messam, 7 Sam Cane (captain), 6 Lachlan Boshier, 5 Mitchell Brown, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Angus Ta'avao, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Aidan Ross

Substitutes: 16 Liam Polwart, 17 Karl Tu'inukuafe, 18 Jeff Thwaites, 19 Michael Allardice, 20 Luke Jacobson, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Marty McKenzie, 23 Declan O'Donnell

Bulls

15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Burger Odendaal (captain), 11 Divan Rossouw, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Andre Warner, 8 Hanro Liebenberg, 7 Thembelani Bholi, 6 Roelof Smit, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Pierre Schoeman

Substitutes: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Conraad van Vuuren, 19 Jason Jenkins/Tim Agaba, 20 Marco van Staden, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Manie Libbok, 23 Johnny Kotze

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