Bulls loss: Who is to blame?
The Bulls lost 23-26 to the Brumbies in their Vodacom Super Rugby semi-final at Loftus on Saturday. Since then blame has been put before numerous people for the loss.
Referee Craig Joubert has been blamed and it has been said he handed the Brumbies 10 points. I’m not convinced. Joubert had a pretty solid game and if he made mistakes it was not intentional nor match changing. Any referee is going to get a call or two wrong.
Coach Ludeke and his staf. Has been blamed for the loss. According to some Ludeke and Matfield was behind the poor decision making in the last 10 minutes. Watching the game you could see them with hands in their hair as they disagreed with the decision making on the field. Ludeke shouted down the radio for a kick at posts and eventually it came.
During the last 10 minutes of the game the 15 players on the field collectively lost their heads. They won 3 penalties with in Morne Steyn’s reach and yet oipted to go for the corner. This while holding a slender 1 point lead. dewaldt Potgieter just kept on instructing Steyn to setup the line-out. It looked more like they were chasing the game than leading it.
This is what ultimately cost them the game. In a semi-final or any play-off game for that matter you take the points. Steyn might have missed two earlier kicks but at that stage momentum was with the Bulls and he was kicking much better. They had already lost 4 line-outs and it just didn’t make any sense at all.
Eventually them messege from the coaching box came through and they took the shot at goal. Problem was that from the kick-off they allowed the Brumbies to turn it over and score. With no time left they could get back into the game. All the Brumbies had to do was field the ball and kick it out.
Stupid play by the Bulls cost them the game. They didn’t allow themselves enough time to fight back if it was needed. 9 possible points not taken and another 5 left on the field through missed kicks. The Brumbies missed 3 points as well.
So who is to blame for their loss? Well in my view the players and captain. True Potgieter is still inexperienced as a captain, but the other senior players should have put up their hands and ended the silliness after the first penalty wasn’t taken.
It does remind one of the 2005 Currie Cup final when Danie Botha instructed Steyn to kick for touch after the whistle had sounded. Scores were level and the penalty shot, which Steyn wanted to take, could have handed them the title. They ended up sharing it with the Cheetahs. It seems the Bulls does not learm from their past mistakes nor those of others. The Cheetahs did the same thing last week against the Brumbies and that ended their run in the 2013 Super Rugby competiton.
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