What NICK MALLETT had to say on SuperSport about the Bulls’ 43-9 win against the Sharks in Pretoria.
Following their rout of the Sharks at Loftus the former Springbok coach was quick to praise the impact that the Bulls’ forward replacements had in the second half.
‘We saw the arrival of Trevor [Nyakane] and Lizo [Gqoboka] and there was a change in plan. Their driving maul suddenly got some purchase, they dominated in the scrums and won three penalties, and we saw them with more possession.
‘When they [the Bulls] got to 19-9 ahead, they played more ambitiously and came out of their shells to score three tries in the last 10 minutes. There was the superb line by [Elrigh] Louw that led to a great try by [Stravino] Jacobs in the corner. Then the 20m driving maul try, and then another walk-in try at the end.’
As good as the Bulls pack was, Mallett was quick to point out that the Sharks will be disappointed with the performance of their own tight five.
‘The white flag went up. We need to ask questions about the replacements in the tight five. Ox [Nche] and [Thomas] du Toit held up but as soon as they went off the Sharks fell away.
‘The Bulls slow poison can really drain a pack of forwards. They’d given up, there was no fight left. The Bulls comprehensively outplayed the Sharks’ loose forwards, but when the tight five are dominated the loose forwards disappear.’
Mallett was also full of praise for flyhalf Morne Steyn who put in a composed man-of-the-match performance, slotting all seven of his kicks at goal and generally directing the Bulls’ attack.
‘That is what experience gives you. Morne is not known as an attacking flyhalf, but today we saw him take it flatter behind the first pod of forwards and find [Cornal] Hendricks with his passes.
‘There was a moment when Morne wasn’t looking at the ruck, his head was already turned to find the next running option. It’s a good lesson for any young flyhalves.
‘He’s moving into position and looking at the defence and his own men and picking the option to hit. It looked like training ground rugby.’
The Bulls’ victory is a serious statement for the rest of the Rainbow Cup and Mallett posited that the challenge for the side would be maintaining this level of performance.
‘Against their closest rival this was a real marker they put down. The question now is how they carry this forward.’