Bulls hoping fortnight of work is profitable as Stormers are ‘perfect team’ | The Citizen
The Bulls are hoping the last couple of weeks working on their discipline and execution under pressure are profitable ones because they need to be at their best against a Stormers side which forwards coach Russell Winter described as being almost the perfect team.
The Bulls last played three weeks ago when they lost 37-28 to the Scarlets in Llanelli, slipping down to fourth in the United Rugby Championship standings. The second-placed Stormers, meanwhile, were in action a fortnight ago and put in a highly impressive performance to hammer the Sharks 46-19 in Durban.
‘Stormers are No 1 in SA’
“That Stormers performance against the Sharks showed that their DNA has not changed and they are playing excellent rugby. They are by far the No 1 South African side at the moment,” Winter said.
“They are really well balanced and they bring a helluva lot. So we will really need to have our A-game if we want a result, and there are a lot of things we will need to neutralise.
“The Stormers have an outstanding set-piece and a really good maul that has functioned very well against all teams. And of course there’s their scrum – they had the Sharks under a helluva lot of pressure.
“Their defence is also outstanding, they come off the line so hard and put teams under huge pressure, forcing a lot of mistakes. And their attack has done really well too.
“So it sounds like the perfect side. They do the basics really well and they have found the Holy Grail of being able to put pressure on teams, forcing mistakes and then feeding off those,” Winter said.
Read more: Excitement in the air as Bulls return home for Stormers URC derby
To counter all that, the Bulls need to rediscover the trademarks – ironically also the name of the restaurant that adjoined the Loftus Versfeld practice field but has since closed down – that made them the best side in South Africa not that long ago. They need to have the dominant pack, exerting pressure, and also be way more clinical with ball in hand.
Read more: ‘Bulls a different beast at Loftus,’ says Stormers coach
“We know if we can string together an 80-minute performance then it can be a really good game,” Winter said. “What’s frustrating us most is the consistency of how we play – there are patches that are outstanding but then soft moments.
“We’ve been trying to sort that out, having none of those silly penalties and mistakes. Our discipline really needs to improve, we have to make sure we don’t give away soft penalties because then the pressure is right back on you.
“We’ve worked hard on that in the last couple of weeks. It is going to be very important to limit our mistakes, not just penalties but also those silly knock-ons and handling errors. The side that makes the least mistakes will go on and win the game,” Winter said.
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