Bulls will 'face the facts' if other results see them eliminated from Champions Cup race

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Guillaume Marchand rubs salt in the Bulls'wounds. (Photo by OLIVIER CHASSIGNOLE / AFP)
Guillaume Marchand rubs salt in the Bulls'wounds. (Photo by OLIVIER CHASSIGNOLE / AFP)
  • The Bulls will do huge introspection if they don't qualify for the Champions Cup knockouts after a messy defeat at Lyon. 
  • Such a scenario does still seem unlikely given that Gloucester need to conjure up a miracle win over Bordeaux late on Saturday, but stranger things have happened.
  • Stand-in head coach Chris Rossouw bemoaned his side's lack of accuracy and discipline. 

"We'll face the facts."

That was Bulls stand-in head coach Chris Rossouw's pithy answer on what the franchise will do if they don't qualify for the knockout phase of the European Champions Cup.

The men from Loftus merely needed a point from their meeting with Lyon on Friday night, but even failed with that objective in slumping to a miserable 7-31 defeat in freezing conditions.

As things stand, the Bulls must essentially hope that Gloucester don't secure a bonus point and win by more than 51 points against Bordeaux in their match kicking-off at 17:15 on Saturday.

"Gloucester play away against Bordeaux, so it will come down to points difference – and we will know where we stand later," said Rossouw.

"It’s highly unlikely that we don’t qualify, but it could happen. What happens will happen, and we need to face the facts."

READ | Woeful Bulls outplayed, outmuscled in the snow as Lyon hand out a rugby lesson

While the Bulls were hampered by poor handling, waywardness at the breakdown (22 turnovers) and a squeezed scrum, the sheer number of penalties they conceded on the night - 17 - proved a death knell to their prospects.

Rossouw referred to the conditions being a first for his troops - it did snow at one stage - but didn't want to use it as too much of a mitigating factor.

"It's the first encounter in France, so they came across a French side that at home, is obviously completely different. You can use the conditions and the travel as an excuse, but it was extremely cold. The reality is that the conditions weren’t that bad in the end – it was very cold, and there was also snow that came down,” he said.

"But if you put that aside, we just conceded too many penalties that put us under pressure. That was sometimes down to little technical errors that we need to improve as a team – in the first half, it was 11 penalties, and six in the second."

However, a more even second half - a 7-all stalemate - had Rossouw pondering if the Bulls might've been more prominent with more time on their hands.

"We came back very well in the second half, and I take my hat off to the guys. But in the beginning, we put ourselves under immense pressure, and that showed on the scoreboard," he said.

"When we came out for the second half, we scored first-up, and then they scored right at the end – so basically, it was even-stevens in the second half. It just showed us that we could manage those conditions and stand our ground."


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