Super Rugby

Otto: Bulls have lost their winning culture

The Bulls during drinks break (Gallo Images)
The Bulls during drinks break (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Former Springbok and Bulls lock Krynauw Otto is lamenting the current state of his former team.

Otto - who played 38 Tests for the Springboks between 1995 and 2000 - feels opposing teams aren't afraid of the Bulls anymore and remembers the success the franchise enjoyed only a few years ago.

"The Bulls have let go so easily, we lost that winning culture," Otto told Sport24 in an exclusive interview.

"Teams aren't scared of the Bulls anymore. I remember the confidence from that time - when they defeated the Stormers by 61 points (75-14 in 2005) and they beat the Reds by 89 (92-3 in 2007).

"I really think the Bulls had such a healthy environment in 2009/10. When the Heyneke Meyer and Frans Ludeke-era finished... with the Fourie du Preez, Victor Matfield and Danie Rossouw's at that time... it (the Bulls franchise) looked so healthy.

"It just feels like the Currie Cup doesn't matter (to them) and it seems like they don't look after the players. There are just too many things that coincided that they didn't attend to and they're paying the price for that."

Otto emphasised that not too long ago the Lions were also struggling as they were relegated in 2012, but now looks South Africa's best bet to compete in a consecutive Super Rugby final.

"The Bulls (have) got the key, they're as good as the Lions and there's no reason why they shouldn't be that good," said Otto.

"If you look at the Lions, they have been playing fantastic and you look three years ago they were struggling.

"You really hope they (the Bulls) get a proper wake-up call. If they lose by 30 points, you'll think: 'Okay so now they'll wake up', but then the next week they lose again by 30 points!"

Following the Bulls' 62-24 home Super Rugby defeat against the Crusaders last weekend, there have been calls for Bulls coach Nollis Marais to get sacked.

However, Otto believes that it's not the coach's fault but thinks that the problem could lie with the players.

"Don't get me wrong, the Bulls have great players and I sometimes feel sorry for them, but they're also responsible for their performances. You can't always blame the coach," said Otto.

"It's sad to say that some of their players lost their value, they should've rather spent the last two years at another union or at a different country and built their personal value."

The Bulls have another tough task this weekend when they host the Highlanders on Saturday (15:05 kick-off).

Teams:

Bulls

15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Jade Stighling, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Hanro Liebenberg (captain), 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Ruan Steenkamp, 5 RG Snyman, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Lizo Gqoboka

Substitutes: 16 Edgar Marutlulle, 17 Pierre Schoeman, 18 Coenraad van Vuuren, 19 Lood de Jager, 20 Nic de Jager, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Tony Jantjies, 23 Jan Serfontein

Highlanders

15 Matt Faddes, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Richard Buckman, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Marty Banks, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Gareth Evans, 7 Dillon Hunt, 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 Tom Franklin, 5 Alex Ainley, 4 Siosuia Halanukonuka, 2 Ash Dixon (captain), 1 Aki Seiuli

Substitutes: 16 Greg Pleasants-Tate, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Siate Tokolahi, 19 Joe Wheeler, 20 Jackson Hemopo, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Fletcher Smith, 23 Teihorangi Walden