‘Execution key for Bulls’

Adriaan Strauss says the Bulls are seeking improved execution as they go in search of a 'complete 80-minute performance', writes CRAIG LEWIS.

The Bulls have made a solid, if unspectacular, start to the season, but remain handily placed after recording three wins and a draw in recent weeks. Their only defeat came in the opening round of the competition.

However, it’s also been clear to see that the Bulls are a team in transition and still haven’t quite been able to put a complete performance together.

Just this past weekend, they started strongly against the Cheetahs and looked in control when they led 20-10 at the break, but they battled to assert any real ascendancy in the second half and ultimately had to hang on for a 23-18 victory.

It’s been a familiar script for a Bulls side that has tended to perform in fits and starts, with Strauss acknowledging that they need to add some polish to their performances.

'We really believe in our plan and what we want to do, but we haven't quite been able to execute it as well as we would have liked. We've played some good rugby, but are yet to really produce that complete 80-minute performance,’ the Bulls captain told SARugbymag.co.za.

‘We've had a strong 40, 50, or even 60 minutes, but then haven't quite been able to put it all together for the full 80. So we realise we do need to make a step up and cut out some of the errors, but we're confident we can do just that.’

This Saturday the Bulls will take on the Kings, and Strauss said there was a real determination to produce a more clinical all-round display.

'We're a process-driven team and I do think we are getting closer to where we want to be. We'll stick to the game plan and the fundamentals of the game, but we know the importance of securing quick ball and being able to establish ascendancy at the gainline. We certainly have some threats out wide, and it would be good to be able to bring that into play.'

The Kings will come into Saturday's clash with some extra confidence after clinching their first win of the season against the Sunwolves last weekend, and Strauss said they had certainly taken note of the improvements made by the Super Rugby returnees.

'The Kings’ defence in their 22 has been very good and they've been impressive at the breakdown, where they’ve been effective in slowing opposition ball down. They have also shown what they can do at scrum time, which is an area where we came under pressure at times against the Cheetahs, so we certainly know that we need to be at our best on Saturday.'

Bulls team to play Kings

Photo: Johan Rynners/Gallo Images

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