CAPE TOWN - Bulls coach John Mitchell says the Stormers’ dominant performance up front, his team’s errors and some “challenging” refereeing decisions all contributed to their defeat in an epic derby at Newlands at the weekend.
The Stormers - who had to win the game to keep their Super Rugby play-off hopes alive - continued their winning run at home as they secured a 29-17 victory in front of an impressive crowd.
The scrum, in particular, was an area where the Stormers hurt their Bulls counterparts, as they succeeded in forcing the visitors into conceding penalties at the set-piece a number of times.
And while Mitchell said that the Stormers deserve credit for their performance, he also lamented some of the “scrum sanctions” by Glen Jackson in the physical encounter.
“It was a very untidy performance by us. The Stormers need to be given credit for their performance. We got ourselves back in at 17-12, but not everything was going for us," he said.
“Even some of the refereeing decisions were challenging. However, we were able to remain calm and got ourselves back into the match. We fed the Stormers with our errors and lost the scrum sanctions as well, so it is game over when you make those kinds of errors.
“At 17-12, to not take command of possession in the match is something we are going to have to learn. The character from us was good. I said to the guys you don’t have to be perfect here but you have to learn to fight.”
“I thought the ref was tough on us, we didn’t get much consistency or rub of the green at all, so we had to work hard to really stay calm and not allow that to upset us as well. I have to look at the specifics around that, (but) especially at scrum time where you had knees on the ground and stuff like that. Those sort of things can go either way.”
“At the end of the day, they won the forward battle, in my honest view, so we will have to take that on the chin. I think it’s important to acknowledge when you get beaten. They won the early races and dug deep when it mattered when we led 17-12.”