Johannesburg - The Vodacom Bulls may be in a happy mood after sneaking home against the Emirates Lions in their pre-season encounter in Polokwane, but coach Nollis Marais was first to admit that their headache at flyhalf is still not solved.
According to SuperSport.com, with less than two weeks to go before they open their Vodacom Super Rugby campaign at Newlands against the Stormers, the Bulls still need to settle on their 10 for the game after both candidates - veteran Francois Brummer and young Tian Schoeman both had indifferent games against the Lions.
Brummer in particular was disappointing, missing a penalty virtually in front of the posts and offering little in terms of getting the backline going, while Schoeman looked better, his passing at times was poor and neither did enough to get the nod on their own for the jersey.
The Bulls already suffered a massive setback last week when Springbok pivot Handre Pollard was ruled out for the season and will fall back on the duo to take them into Super Rugby.
Schoeman had a better time in the second half, but it must be said the Bulls had large periods of time in possession with the ball, but fluffed at least five clear try-scoring chances by either knocking on, or poor passing, which should be rectified.
Schoeman popped the perfect pass to a flying Jade Stighling, the winger ghosting through the gap for Burger Odendaal's try that put the Bulls ahead for the first time late in the game, but Schoeman will need a more dominant performance to make the 10 jersey his own.
Marais was honest about the duo, and said they both need work during the last fortnight before the competition begins.
"Both of them still need a lot of work, there was a lot of passes that didn’t go to hand. It wasn’t fluid yet, and they need to step it up now, Handre isn’t going to play for the entire year and they need to step it up. They need to sort out the little mistakes," Marais said.
"A guy like Burger came on and made a huge difference, but he needs to be given good ball in space. The guys need to fix the small errors."
The ball handling will be a massive concern when the team reviews their performance on Monday, with the Bulls also being held up over the line in the first half twice when they should have scored.
"It is something that is a big concern, even in the game against the Cheetahs, we will definitely need to look at that," Marais admitted.
"Transferring from the 22 to the goalline is a bit of a problem. We lost the ball twice over the line and we would have killed the game earlier if we held onto it. It is something we need to fix, but luckily we have two weeks to fix it."
Probably the best news of the entire weekend for the Bulls, other than the win, was the fact they left without injuries. Given it followed a week where they lost Pollard, Lappies Labuschagne and Lizo Gqoboka (just for the game), it was good news for them.
Trevor Nyakane left the field hobbling, but Marais confirmed it was precautionary.
"He wanted to play on but I told him no," Marais quipped, underlining the fact that the Bulls don't need more injuries at this stage.