‘Bulls stuck in the past’

What former Springbok coach NICK MALLETT had to say on SuperSport about the past weekend's Currie Cup matches.

'I was surprised, because the Sharks have gone through a couple of difficult weeks, where they lost two and drew one. Going into the game it looked like the Bulls had a bit of momentum. It was a really good performance by the Sharks, it's never easy to win at Loftus. It was not just a win, but a good win.

'The Bulls are going to really battle to make the semis now. They're going to need to win all three remaining games with a bonus point. We've made a couple of excuses for the Sharks and the Cheetahs, who have lost a lot of players to the Springboks, but this is pretty much the same Bulls side that played during Super Rugby. It was a very disappointing result for a team that should really be at least in the semi-finals.

'They're still playing a forward-dominated kicking game, with up-and-unders and box kicking that was successful for them in the past. They're trying to move away from that into a more ball-in-hand approach, but because they haven't practised that, their players can't produce it during the match. They have never played a 15-man, phase play, co-ordinated type of game plan.

'The players don't really know where to run. They have backline players cleaning rucks and forwards playing flyhalf. There's a whole strategy of playing attacking rugby using all 15 players and they don't really understand how to do that. I think that's where the problem comes in, they're between two stools at the moment.

'Province played really good rugby [against Griquas]. They were 17-0 up very early on, and then the game went to pieces a bit in the second half. It got a bit loose and scrappy. They have the ability to score collective driving maul tries as well as some very good backline moves. They are deservedly top of the log and I think that between them and the Lions, we've got something to look forward to at the end of the competition.

'Maybe the Lions deserve to have one or two players closer to the Springbok side than are there at the moment. They're playing a fantastic brand of rugby and I can assure you that Province won't look forward to having to play the Lions at Ellis Park. It's going to be very important to finish top of the log and get the home final.'

Photo: Lee Warren/Gallo Images

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