Bulls coach John Mitchell conceded that his pack came off second best in their 29-17 defeat to the Stormers at Newlands on Saturday.
The derby did not lack a physical element, with the Stormers putting in some big hits, particularly on flyhalf Handré Pollard. They also forced the Bulls into conceding penalties at the scrum, with props Steven Kitshoff and Wilco Louw having a fine afternoon.
Mitchell bemoaned the fact that his side did not take control of the game when they went 17-12 up just after half-time, with the Bulls almost immediately relinquishing that lead as Stormers fullback SP Marais put his side ahead minutes later.
‘It was a very untidy performance by us,’ Mitchell said. ‘The Stormers need to be given credit for their performance. We got ourselves back in at 17-12, but not everything was going for us. Even some of the refereeing decisions were challenging. However, we were able to remain calm and got ourselves back into the match.
‘We fed the Stormers with our errors and lost the scrum sanctions as well, so it is game over when you make those kinds of errors. At 17-12, to not take command of possession in the match is something we are going to have to learn.
‘The character from us was good. I said to the guys you don’t have to be perfect here but you have to learn to fight.
‘At the end of the day, they won the forward battle, in my honest view, so we will have to take that on the chin. I think it’s important to acknowledge when you get beaten. They won the early races and dug deep when it mattered when we led 17-12.’
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