After being outplayed by Western Province in the first half the young Blue Bulls team came back with a heartfelt performance that would have made the whole Pretoria excited about the Bulls future.
Unfortunately it just went downhill for the Blue Bulls from there, first an unimpressive win against Griquas at Loftus and then their worst nightmare, a humiliation by the Lions at their fortress the following week. They came back with a better performance against the Sharks this past weekend but was still outplayed.
With only one win and one draw to show for their efforts after four games, this Blue Bulls side have their backs against the wall in a week were they will face a Cheetahs team that started to show the great form that got them to a Super Rugby play-off this year.
Coach Pine Pienaar believes his side just have to “fight and believe” to get their season back on track, which was exactly what I felt this weekend watching this young side from Pretoria.
This team has future stars in the making. Every time I see them, I cannot but believe they are just one good performance away to get all 23 players singing “Die Blou Bul eet nie van die vloer af nie”. If you look through this young side you see quality and potential that is just waiting to be unleashed with names like Pollard, Blommetjies, Visser, Francois Venter, Ross, Jacques Du Plessis and Jean Cook.
My biggest concern is that they are playing the wrong type of game given the players they have in this team. With their bulky forwards that can run over opponents all day (ask Jean Deysel) and give them front-foot ball, I just cannot see why they want to kick so much of their possession away.
Let’s look at a coach like Naka Drotske, who gave Willie le Roux the freedom to play his natural game but still keep the structure of his team in place, during the Super Rugby. This is a prime example of a player playing to his ability which made him a Springbok this year.
Pine Pienaar will have to “believe” in his players before he can expect them to believe in his structure.