Cape Town - While being physical and dominating the collisions is vitally important in rugby, finding your rhythm on attack with ball in hand is ultimately much tougher.
That is the crossroads at which the Bulls find themselves in the United Rugby Championship at the moment.
Jake White has inculcated the correct mindset into his players – of wanting to stretch defences and score tries – but the execution isn’t quite there yet.
There were some glimpses of cutting-edge attacking play in the 29-24 victory over Munster at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday, particularly when the likes of Kurt-Lee Arendse, Madosh Tambwe and Embrose Papier took on the Irish side with ball in hand.
It looked like something would happen – and many times it did – when that trio got possession, but they should receive even more ball going forward in the tournament.
It would have been disappointing for White and attack coach Chris Rossouw to see the Bulls almost revert to type and use their forwards to pick and go inside the Munster 22, and the men from Limerick lapped it up most of the time.
Both Bulls tries, by Tambwe and Walt Steenkamp, came from broken play, where the home side were able to maintain continuity with ball-inhand and cut the Munster defence with some thrilling running.
They will hope to do more of that in Friday’s clash against the Scarlets at Loftus Versfeld (7.10pm kick-off), especially after missing out on a fourtry bonus point against Munster, having led 29-3 at one stage.
“For a couple of weeks now, we’ve been ‘pulling the trigger’ too quickly and going out the back in the 22, and probably being caught behind the advantage line. In this game, we’ve spoken about, ‘Don’t pull the trigger until it’s on’, and we probably overplayed our hand by being narrow and using the forwards,” White said at the postmatch press conference.
“It’s a work in progress for us… We’ve got to try to get the balance between when we use the backs; there must be a reason why we use them because we’ve compressed the defence.
“The most important thing is to practice it. We looked nice and expansive, and played some really good rugby when we were outside the 22. It’s almost like we get inside the 22 and there are 15 defenders, and you’ve got to be a bit more patient and a bit more accurate in terms of what you do with the ball.
“But very happy with the way we played: the shape of the game, the intensity. And when you get a Man of the Match (Tambwe) on the wing, in a Bulls team playing against Munster, you’ve got to do something right.”
White said he was hoping Bismarck du Plessis won’t be further sanctioned for his red card, after he lifted and dropped Munster No 8 Alex Kendellen to the ground, as he wanted to start the veteran hooker in Wednesday’s Currie Cup match against the Sharks in Pretoria (8pm).