Bulls coach Nollis Marais said he was not happy about the bonus point which eluded his team despite their convincing 41-22 victory over the Reds at Loftus Versfeld at the weekend.
The Bulls were leading 27-8 after 50 minutes, but conceded two quick tries to powerful Reds centre Samu Kerevi, and, although they finished with five tries, they ended one short of the bonus point, losing the throw at a lineout five metres from the opposition tryline after the final hooter.
“I wasn’t happy that we didn’t get the bonus point, we should have used that lineout at the end. We got back in the game after they scored an excellent try up front, but at certain stages there was too much individual play. At halftime we said we must stick to the structures and let the ball do the work, not the man. We weren’t accurate enough,” Marais said after the win, which kept them up with the leaders in the South African Group.
“But we are getting better every week. We played for seven years with the same style here and now we’re trying something different, even though it might not always look like it. Previously guys would just tuck the ball under the arm and go straight for the opposition, but guys like Jan Serfontein and Jesse Kriel are now moving the ball.
“It’s a game plan which the Lions are a couple of years down the line with, but we must stick to that – it’s important to see the space,” Marais said.
The Bulls now have a bye before going on tour to Australia and both Marais and captain Adriaan Strauss warned that it is not going to get any easier as they try to nail down a playoff spot.
“We are a process-driven team and we’re not where we want to be, but we’ll take a win any day. It was a good win, but we are chasing high standards, the perfect game, so we mustn’t get ahead of ourselves.
“It’s definitely not going to get any easier, especially on tour. We’ll enjoy the win and the week off, but then we need to focus 100% on the Force, which will be a tough challenge,” Strauss said.
“To have our two byes so early is a challenge, I would have liked one after the tour. But now the weekend after we come back from tour, we play the Stormers here. So that’s going to be a big challenge and we need to make sure the guys are rested enough,” Marais added.