Bulls focus on positives not penalty
March 31, 2013
Etienne Oosthuizen and the Brumbies dominated physically in the first half © Getty Images
Bulls coach Frans Ludeke was in an upbeat mood despite his team's narrow failure against the Brumbies at Canberra Stadium on Saturday.
The South African tourists appeared to have claimed a remarkable draw, turning a 14-3 half-time deficit into parity at 20-20 when Johannes Engelbrecht strode over for a try with a minute remaining, which was duly converted by Morne Steyn. But the Brumbies managed to eke out a victory thanks to a last-gasp penalty from Christian Lealiifano to down the plucky Bulls at the death.
The winning kick did not come without controversy, with Ludeke feeling the Brumbies infringed as his team were penalised for not releasing the ball.
"It was clearly offside," Ludeke said. "We just looked at it on video, but that's the game. It's rugby. We'll put it behind us and just concentrate on the positives. We must go and make sure we pull out a result at home. We don't want to give it [the decision] energy.
"The effort you can't take [it] away. It was a great performance in the second half and we will go with that. We got a point out of the game and every point is vital in this competition."
Ludeke insisted the Bulls could be proud of their efforts on the Australian leg of their tour, with the three-time Super Rugby champions coming close to downing the impressive Brumbies.
"Obviously there are a lot of positives from the tour," Ludeke said. "We blooded a lot of youngsters and I thought the way we came back in the second half was the way of the whole tour. The team just grew in stature throughout. There were one or two things that cost us today. You need a good scrum to get out of your half and to get good possession or a penalty your way. But well done to the Brumbies, I thought it was a good fight, a good game.
"We made a few errors [in] the first half, particularly in our kicking game, so we were frustrated at half-time. There were a lot of soft penalties that we gave away so it was more of getting more discipline in the second half and concentrating. It worked for us as we got a try early on and that really triggered our self-belief and effort."
The Bulls have a bye in round eight before returning to action with a home match against fellow South Africans side the Cheetahs on April 13.
The Bulls thought they had secured an unlikely draw after trailing by 11 points (video available only in Australia)