Discipline will make or break the Bulls’ Super 14 rugby tour of Australasia, a member of the squad’s coaching staff warned on Monday.
“We have conceded five tries in our last two matches while we were reduced to 14 players as a result of sin-bin offences,” defence coach John McFarland said.
“Those were costly lessons and there should be no misconceptions about the importance of discipline in our four tour matches,” McFarland said from the Australian Gold Coast.
Morris Gilbert writes in Beeld that the Bulls play the Reds in their first tour match in Brisbane on Saturday.
McFarland said the experimental laws promoted broken play, which made it even more important to have 15 players on the field at all times.
He agreed with head coach Frans Ludeke that the Bulls had no intention of resorting to foul tactics. The infringements by and the suspensions of Dewald Potgieter, JP Nel and Zane Kirchner should be seen “in the correct context”.
“We have made about 5 000 tackles in our last 31 Super Rugby matches and were shown only four cards for spear tackles or similar offences,” McFarland said.
“This proves beyond all doubt that the Bulls do not have a pattern of using illegal tactics. There is, therefore, no danger that the referees and their assistants will target us.”
McFarland was delighted with the crucial role defence had played in the victory over the Lions last weekend. The Bulls were down to 14 players for 40 minutes after the red card Kirchner was shown for a spear tackle.
The Bulls, who had their first practice on Australian soil on Monday, will be able to consider all 25 players in the tour squad for the match against the Reds.
Fourie du Preez, who has a hand injury and Bryan Habana, who has a slight knee problem, did not train but will be on duty on Tuesday.
As a precautionary measure, Wikus van Heerden and Derick Kuün were told not to make any contact on Monday. Van Heerden received a knock against the head against the Lions and there were fears that Kuün may have a broken rib.
It is expected that Ludeke will, to retain continuity, make only one change to the starting lineup, moving Morné Steyn to fullback in place of the suspended Kirchner.
This means a midfield shuffle, with JP Nel returning from his suspension to partner Wynand Olivier, who had a fine game against the Lions.Tweet