The table-topping Bulls may stand accused of playing ‘boring’ rugby, but they have no intention of discarding the game plan that has put them on a five-match victory run this year.
Jan De Koning writes for Rugby 365 that just like the third-placed Waratahs of Australia, the Bulls have been accused of kicking the game to death.
However, Bulls flyhalf Morné Steyn, the Super 14′s leading points scorer, said the Bulls believe in their own brand of “winning rugby” and see no need to change to appease the hordes of media critics who like to label them.
With the Bulls currently on a nine-match winning streak – four wins at the end of last season and their first five matches this year – they feel they have the game that can take them to a second Super Rugby crown.
And, as they proved against the Hurricanes last Saturday, not only is it good enough to win on home soil, the tactics can also overcome the tough challenges they face in New Zealand.
“The type and quality of rugby we play, whether it is in South Africa, New Zealand or Australia, is winning rugby,” Steyn told rugby365.com, as they prepared for their encounter with the Highlanders in Palmerston North on Saturday.
“No matter how many people out there say we kick too much, and all that stuff, it is working for us, so there’s no need to change,” the Bulls No.10 added.
He pointed out that the Bulls, despite the boring tag, average three tries a game and have collected just as many try-scoring bonus points as all the other teams in the top four.
“The people don’t look beyond the kicking on the field, but we are not that far off the try-scoring pace,” he said.
“Yes, ourselves and the Waratahs are rated as the two teams that kick the most, but we are first and third on the standings.”
He said the Bulls will “tweak” some things in their game ahead of Saturday’s showdown with the ever-improving Highlanders, but there won’t be major changes.
“Those are just some small things we need to tweak and polish, but in general we are going to stick with what has worked for us,” Steyn told rugby365.com.
Steyn said they have had a look at the Highlanders’ win over the Cheetahs last week and some players have also done some video analyses, but they will do more work on their opponents during the week.
“We know what to expect,” he said, adding that they won’t make the mistake of regarding the mid-table Highlanders as a soft-touch.
“We all know there are no easy Super 14 games – just have a look at the Sharks. They won all the games that were supposedly their tough games [on tour in Australasia] and then lost to the Reds, which was meant to be their ‘easy’ game.
“We certainly don’t want to step into that trap. We are definitely taking it one game at a timer and treating every opponent with the respect they deserve. The Highlanders will be a tough challenge.”
Steyn said that while he is happy with his own game in general, he will be putting in a few extra hours of kicking practice this week – after missing a number of shots at goal during last week’s win over the Hurricanes.
“It [goal-kicking] is something which Vlok [Cilliers, the Bulls' kicking coach] and myself will be working hard this week, so I’m confident will be a lot better this coming weekend.”Tweet