The Bulls did amazingly well to front up early and bounced out to a deserving 12 point lead in the first game of this weekends fixtures against the Chiefs
The Bulls fortuitously found themselves 2 tries in front of the favorites the chiefs after some appalling defending by the Chiefs back 3, some of which bordered on the comical!
Either way they were in front. And looking good? No, they were in front. Their defence is well organized but they leak way too many tries through poor tackling, admittedly by certain serial offenders, but their game cannot win the competition. It is too stereotypical and they can do more… Even with the players they have at present. They did show some nice touches and to me seemed willing to counter attack, but they need everything to go right if they are to beat a team like the Chiefs.. And it didn’t.
At 3-15, excellent referee Chris Pollock missed a clear forward pass from Mckenzie to Filipo in the build up to one of the tries of the comp, and the Chiefs were back in it. It is simply not good enough to let this type of thing go. The ARs should have been involved if they were in line, which I think they were. It’s not about who would have won… The Chiefs would have. Every time . But we are talking professional sport. And this is not professional! The Chiefs were by far the better team even though they were weakened by injury. They have fantastic ball players and when they get their game going, can be quite devastating!
I thought Polly did really well in general, let the game rock along , wasn’t too pedantic ( although he did ping Matfield for a very marginal infringement in advancing, and was incorrect at a maul penalty against the Bulls where the Chiefs lock was a part of the original maul and then by his own volition, disengaged ) respected both teams ambitions, and was for the most part accurate. His yellow card of Cane followed a warning, and he acted with impunity and accuracy which I thought was a departure from some of the waffle I have been subjected to in recent weeks.
The Sharks have been the butt of everyone’s jokes lately but they showed just what a proud outfit they are, when they scrapped and defended their way to a 21-14 win. They were out on their feet at the final whistle, but deserved their win. They are a middle of the table team this season, but with a few smart acquisitions can build again for the future. Their win came on the back of some stout defence, excellent line speed and physicality.
Their leadership group stood up really well, and Bismarck once agin showed how devastating he can be as a fetcher, if officials prepare well and don’t allow players to target him beyond the ball. His work rate, as well as the rest of the loosies in particular paved the way for a much needed win.
The last Sharks try was also quite comical with James O Conner miskicking the ball straight into the very much injured Stefan Ungerer, who took 3 labored steps and fell over the line for his last act of the game.
The ref Angus Gardner looked good in the first half but allowed himself to be pressured in the second with the Reds players in particular getting quite vocal. He is a much better ref when he doesn’t allow this to happen. All referees, when they get flustered, will make some average calls. An expectant home crowd and some very frustrated individuals didn’t help to keep his composure. All in all its a good learning curve, the lessons of which must be heeded as soon as possible.