PRETORIA – Bulls coach Pote Human gave a brutally honest assessment of his side’s poor performance following a 56-20 drubbing at the hands of the Chiefs at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
His charges were humiliated on their home ground conceding seven tries against New Zealand’s lowest placed side in the competition.
“We didn’t pitch at all, I think we were still in the bye, I’ll take it on me I gave the guys last week off,” Human said after the match.
“From the kick-off it actually looked like they (the Chiefs) loved playing at Loftus and we really struggled from the kick-off. We were flat and they just had the energy we didn’t have.”
Trailing 24-6 at the half-time break it was clear the Bulls were in for a world of pain unless they managed to turn their fortunes around in the second half.
But the Bulls remained lethargic throughout the 80 minutes with the home side managing to score two converted tries in response to the Chiefs’ champagne display.
Chiefs fullback Damian McKenzie produced a sparkling performance controlling the game from all corners of the field.
McKenzie doubled as grandmaster chess player, popping up all over the place to set up the Chiefs in their try-scoring frenzy.
The New Zealanders scored three braces courtesy of Solomon Alaimalo, Alex Nankivell and Brodie Retallick with Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi adding his name to the scoresheet.
Bulls midfielders Jesse Kriel and Burger Odendaal were responsible for their side’s two five-pointers.
The Pretoria franchise’s flat-footed performance had Human scratching his head considering their near faultless displays before last weekend’s bye.
“We were off our game, they were good and we give them credit but we were very poor today and we allowed them to look like they are on track again,” Human said. “I know we are much better than this, we showed it in three of the first four games.
“This is a bad one to take but we have to take it on the chin and come back stronger next week.”
The Bulls battled in nearly every facet of their game with their forwards struggling to get any ascendency whether it was in the set piece or in the loose.
The Chiefs also dominated the breakdown area and Human will have to decide whether his loose trio is striking the right balance.
“They were just a lot more physical than us, if you want to play the way we want to play, the forwards have to be physical and I think they bullied us today,” Human said. “We just have to take it and come back harder.”
The loss knocked the Bulls off their perch in the South African Conference and they are currently occupying fourth place on the log with 13 points.
They will be looking for a quick turnaround for this week’s clash against the Sharks in Durban, a side that has managed to bounce back from their defeat to the Bulls a fortnight ago.@ockertde