Pretoria - Bulls coach John Mitchell has bemoaned the team’s lack of consistency ahead of their north-south derby against Stormers at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
Despite playing some exceptional rugby at stages, the Bulls returned from their overseas tour with just one bonus point for their efforts in three matches and are now second from bottom on a overall log, something that is not only frustrating for the fans, but for the team as well.
According to the supersport.com website, Mitchell admitted the team had made some big mistakes but believes the key is more consistency on attack, and hopefully that will come with a longer run at home in Pretoria.
“We were hoping to be in a better position but it is what it is. You tell me how many teams have won in New Zealand in recent times. We let two go and we were in that contest the other night. We let that go before half-time in the rain. It is what it is and we just have to keep on working,” Mitchell said, reflecting on the tour.
“No team has won in New Zealand. The Bulls haven’t won in Christchurch in 22 years so you have to realise that it is something that hasn’t been done a lot. We know where we are and we know where we have to get to. We’re showing inconsistency and that is obviously our challenge as a coaching group to show that consistency is arrived at.
“Some guys blew their roles, defensively. The 41st and 45th minute of the Chiefs game, but I still maintain the Chiefs game was decided on the obstruction try. Against the Reds we hung tough all night, weren’t particularly good on attack, but our defence kept us in the game and had a chance to win that at the end. As a group we’ve got to learn to nail those situations.
“At the end of the day you have to outwork New Zealand teams and for that matter any team. Unfortunately we didn’t choose to outwork those teams for long enough and ultimately that is what it comes down to. There is no use going back and saying you should have done this and that. It is a pretty simple solution really. We just eventually have to close the deal.”
Mitchell said he believed they would fare better against the Stormers at home.
“This competition is home dominated isn’t it? You have to look at it realistically, it is home dominated. It is not exactly an even competition in the sense that the majority of the teams win at home. So we are now at home for a long period of time, so it is good,” he added.
The Bulls coach was impressed with the blooding of a number of youngsters, including Embrose Papier, Manie Libbock and Divan Rossouw on the tour.
“It is good for their development. Manie didn’t play a lot but he was exposed to the tempo and the intensity of the game. The Kiwis take you off the ball than most other sides as well. They are very brutal at checking defenders and very brutal at cleaning outside of rucks and they are good at it. It is the ultimate test at the moment going down there. It is good for the youngsters to go down there and it will bring closure in their minds about what is required as they progress in their careers.”
The Bulls will be looking to find that key to winning when they take on their old rivals on Saturday.
They certainly believe they are better than their log position at the moment and now it is time for them to prove it.