The Bulls are determined to lose their tag as the naughty boys of the Super 14 rugby competition when they play the Chiefs in Rotorua on Saturday.
Morris Gilbert writes in Beeld that Fourie du Preez, captain of the 2007 champions, said on Wednesday the six cards the Bulls had been shown in their first five matches this season were unacceptable.
“One can probably differ from the referee about the yellow card that Derick Hougaard was shown against the Reds but the fact is that the team is disrupted when all 15 players are not on the field,” Du Preez said in a call from Australia.
After the humiliation against the Reds last week, the players had a frank discussion during which the importance of discipline as a prerequisite for success was stressed.
“We will therefore try everything to prove that the Bulls do not play undisciplined rugby. This is the only way for us to get the tour back on the right road,” Du Preez said.
“I do not have a single reason to explain why we have not fired on all cylinders. We slipped up against the Reds when we failed to capitalise on territorial advantage and good possession in the first 30 minutes.
“Against the Chiefs we will have to concentrate to convert every opportunity into points.”
Diligence and urgency
Bulls coach Frans Ludeke also has high hopes that their campaign will get back on the rails this weekend.
He denied that the players were not doing their best. That was something that would normally be spotted in training, Ludeke said.
“The diligence and the urgency that they show in training should be carried over on to the field.
“Our try count does not show it but we create enough opportunities in every match to win. Minor mistakes stop major things from happening.
“We just have to keep trying, remain patient and worry about the things over which we have control,” the coach added.
He also expressed concern about the number of penalties and free kicks that the Bulls had conceded against the Reds.
“It was our own fault that we were beaten at the breakdown points but we will have to adapt better and more quickly to the way the referee handles the game.
“There are still grey areas, especially at breakdown points, because the referees do not apply the laws consistently.”
Springbok wing Bryan Habana was not considered for the match because of a shoulder injury. Danwel Demas will take his place.
Two changes have been made to the pack that played against the Reds. Danie Rossouw replaces Wilhelm Steenkamp at lock and Deon Stegmann takes Rossouw’s place on the flank.
Morné Steyn, Akona Ndungane, JP Nel, Wynand Olivier, Danwel Demas. Derick Hougaard, Fourie du Preez (capt), Pedrie Wannenburg, Wikus van Heerden, Deon Stegmann, Danie Rossouw, Bakkies Botha, Rayno Gerber, Derick Kuün, Gurthrö Steenkamp.
Substitutes: Bandise Maku, Werner Kruger, Wilhelm Steenkamp, Hilton Lobberts, Dewald Potgieter, Heini Adams and Stephan Dippenaar.