For only the second time this season, the Bulls were made to look ordinary and at times a shadow of the team they were becoming prior to playing against the Brumbies in Canberra.
In only their second loss of the season after going down to the Stormers in the opening game of the season, the men from Pretoria buckled under the pressure applied by the Brumbies and looked intimidated by the history of not having won in Canberra since 2007.
In the end the Bulls were beaten by experience as the Brumbies outwitted them and used their overwhelming dominance in the set-pieces and breakdown to condemn the men from Pretoria to only six points.
It was a lesson well learnt but the Bulls will need to dust themselves off and get back onto the horse as they face a gruelling three weeks where they will have a showdown against the Waratahs in Sydney before returning home to face the Stormers and Lions.
“We never really got going and we made far too many errors in the game,” said Marais.
“The Brumbies applied a lot of pressure on us and our inexperience showed as the guys didn’t have a response for it. You could see before the game that the guys were under pressure facing a quality side like the Brumbies.
“We need these kind of experiences as a young team that is growing and hopefully the guys have learnt a valuable lesson on how to confront the pressure that comes with playing in such games.
“We will have to look at where we went wrong and prepare properly for what will be another big challenge in the Waratahs. It doesn’t get easier in this competition so the guys will need to get their minds right quickly,” he added.
The loss in Canberra not only broke the Bulls' five-match unbeaten run but it also denied them an opportunity of going top of the South African group standings after the Stormers and the Lions had byes this past weekend.
The Bulls still lie in second spot in Africa conference 1, a solitary point behind the Stormers, who are on 29 points, while they are in third place in the South African group behind the Stormers and Lions, who are one point adrift of the Bulls but are above them by virtue of them leading the African conference 2.
Former Sevens star Jamba Ulengo will be joining the Bulls in Sydney today as a replacement for the injured Travis Ismaiel who hurt his hamstring in the loss against the Brumbies.
Ismaiel will undergo a scan to determine the severity of his injury while Ulengo will be a welcome returnee to the Bulls team after leaving the side in Australia two weeks ago because of the passing of his mother.
Ulengo will in all probability start on the wing while Marais will take another day before deciding on the make-up of his team to face the Waratahs in the hope of overcoming the stumble suffered in Canberra. – The Star
Original source: Inexperience cost Bulls