‘Bulls closed out game well’

What former Springbok coach NICK MALLETT had to say on SuperSport about Saturday's matches involving South African teams.

On the match at Loftus

'Every single Bulls player showed a real attitude to compete today. It was a really good team performance.

'The youngsters really put up their hands. Handré Pollard and Francois Hougaard made some key turnovers; [Hanro] Liebenberg made those two charge-downs at the beginning of the game to put pressure on Andy Ellis and the Crusaders.

'Jesse Kriel had a great game from fullback, and Burger Odendaal provided more than just a big strong burst from centre. He stepped nicely, was always looking for the offload and took his try really well. I think Jan Serfontein had all those skills at U21 level, but he's lost his way a bit.

'Pollard knocked his penalties over and instead of the Bulls having to chase the game, the Crusaders had to chase things. And whenever a South African side gets ahead by 12 points, we're quite good at closing a game out, because we don't have to create opportunities, we have to stop the opposition from creating opportunities and the Bulls did that very well today.

'Richie McCaw was penalised three or four times. He's just getting caught by referees now for doing the things that he's been doing so effectively over the last five to 10 years.

'The Crusaders created opportunities, but through a combination of their own mistakes and some good Bulls defence, they weren't able to finish them off. Israel Dagg made a super break down the field – he could've passed left, but went right and the opportunity was gone. Ellis was right through but the Bulls made a great defensive tackle and a turnover.'

On the Stormers

'The Stormers were disappointing. They started well, especially with that first try from Juan de Jongh. I thought, especially with Schalk Burger's 100th game, they would really turn it on, but unfortunately the game went against them. The interception try really turned it against them and they were well-beaten in the end.'

On the match at Kings Park

'The Force have to ask themselves how on earth they lost that game. They forced the Sharks to make 157 tackles and they only made 48. They had two-thirds possession, had two tries disallowed, one which was virtually on the line, another one for cleaning out beyond the ball, and the wing contrived to drop the ball over the line.

'In addition Sias Ebersohn missed a penalty bang in front of the posts. They played better rugby than the Sharks and if they had taken half of their chances, they would've won.'

Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

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