Leinster loss was a learning curve, says Bulls loose forward Arno Botha
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Bulls loose forward Arno Botha is confident that they will find their feet in the United Rugby Championship after suffering a 3-31 defeat against Leinster in the opening weekend of the competition.
The Bulls were better than the scoreboard suggested, while the Stormers should also be kicking themselves for chucking the game in the last quarter. The Sharks also went down at the weekend. The Lions are the only SA team that got a positive result.
Speaking during a media briefing yesterday, Botha admitted that the new competition against European teams was an adjustment.
“We have analysed the game and we don’t think there is a big gap (between the South African and European sides), these things happen, but it was a learning curve for us,” Botha said.
While the Bulls created much of the play in the second and third quarters of the match against Leinster, their inability to cope with the intensity of the Irish giants and capitalise on their own opportunities cost them.
Botha admitted that the opposition’s intensity was certainly felt, but focused on the fact that it’s still early days and that there is still ample room for improvement.
“It was a bit of an adjustment. The guys from this side just finished better, I think. I don’t think it’s a case of them dominating us physically, I think it just came down to moments in the game where we could have done better,” he said.
“We can only do better from here. We just need to make the step up. They were quick and fast and so on, but I think we went into the game not really sure of what to expect. It’s not going to be a train smash, we will make that step up, they just caught us on the game. It’s not the end of the world, it was the first game and there are still 20 more to play.
“It was a sunny day, the conditions were good, so there are no excuses there. Maybe we just need to get used to the playing style. It’s not that much of a physical factor, it’s small things that just need to come together. We weren’t clinical enough.”
The Bulls will take on Connacht in Round Two on Friday evening - a challenge Botha said they are looking forward to.
“They say playing in Connacht is like playing in Kimberley, but totally different,” he quipped. “It’s not going to be dry and hot, it’s going to be cold and wet.
“We know they are just going to keep coming at us, it’s going to be a nice battle. It’s going to be wet and we are going to have to be more clinical.”