PRETORIA - The Blue Bulls year continued to spiral out of control and their Currie Cup ambitions were dealt a severe blow after an embarrassing 51-15 loss against a ruthless Pumas side in Nelspruit on Friday night.
The loss saw the Bulls drop further down the log into sixth spot, just one place above the bottom of the log Lions. But Bulls director of rugby and head coach John Mitchell is calling for calm heads as his team makes the transition into the new methods that he has brought in.
“We recognise our current limitations and have a vision and strategic plan in place that we are focusing on,” said Mitchell.
The game against the Pumas was Mitchell’s first in charge after taking over the reins from Nollis Marais but instead of there being a significant improvement in their play, the men in blue produced their worst performance of the season as they conceded eight tries, with five of them coming from the driving maul.
It was the first time this season that the team conceded 50 points, further compounding what was a disaster of a Super Rugby campaign. The weaknesses of their defence have now been laid bare, with the side having leaked more tries than they have scored.
Mitchell revealed many of his team’s weaknesses at the moment lie in the fact that they are currently undergoing change in the way they play and their thinking. He said it will take a bit of time for the players to adapt to their new ways.
“We are also going though a change in mentality and approach in which the athletes will take time to adapt to be on the same page," he said. “The performance was clearly not our best, conceding five tries through defending the maul ...”
Furthermore, the team’s discipline will also be questioned as they received three yellow cards in the game played at Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit, many of which were from bad decision making by individual players.
As much as Mitchell’s initial culling began with the changing of the coaching staff, it is becoming increasingly obvious that something will also need to be done with the playing personnel who are just as much to blame for the team’s inept performances as their coaches.