{
    "title": "Bulls still have a way to go - Mitchell",
    "image": "https:\/\/images.supersport.com\/2018\/1\/John-Mitchell-looks-180123G300.jpg",
    "body": "<p>Vodacom Bulls coach John Mitchell believes his team \u201cstill has a long way to go\u201d before being the finished article ahead of this year\u2019s Vodacom Super Rugby tournament.<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\nThe Bulls will start the tournament a week later than the rest of the teams, mainly because they have a bye in week one. Mitchell and his management team have been hard at work trying to work with a squad that is incredibly talented, not as experienced as it needs to be, and has to become better to attain success in the competition.<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\nMitchell, for better or worse, is a realist. The coach hasn\u2019t taken to making predictions, focussing rather on attaining the small goals and making the squad better as a whole, with the results hopefully to follow.<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\nCrafting the squad from three different groups - the player contingent that have been training together since November, the Springbok returnees and the Japanese-based Bulls \u2013 has had its challenges, but Mitchell is confident the plan is slowly coming together.<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\n\u201cYeah we\u2019ve got maybe three different groups at the moment on different timelines. You\u2019ve had the group who have been at home all the time. Our strength and conditioning team have done a wonderful job and communicated with the test players when they got back, when they were out, when they were on their holiday and when they could start.<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\n\u201cAnd obviously there have been a sprinkling of the Japanese players and they are all on different timelines.<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\n\u201cWe will get started on our younger players and certainly get our new players in early, so that we bring closure in their mind. As we move towards the competition, we will get closer to the 23 that play against the Canes. That is how we are working on it.<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\n\u201cBy the time we get to the 17th of February, everyone will be on the same working week.\u201d<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\nThe coach feels the team still have a long way that they have to go before he feels they are where they need to be for the competition.<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\n\u201cWe still have a long way to go. We\u2019ve built some solid foundations, we think our athletes are really healthy and we feel they\u2019ve become a lot more robust.<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\n\u201cWe\u2019ve worked heavily on our individual skill-sets and there is a great attitude in the group. We\u2019ve talked about selection before and I wasn\u2019t hasty. I selected some really quality men in this group who are keen to become cohesive and connected.<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\n\u201cObviously pressure will challenge us as well, and the trials will challenge us as well, which we need. We need to be put under stress in the next four weeks before we go to competition.\u201d<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\nNaming two captains may have raised a few eyebrows, but in Burger Odendaal and Nick de Jager, Mitchell has two captains who he feels he can rely on through the season.<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\n\u201cI\u2019m a big believer in sharing leadership and owning leadership. Burger and Nick are also supported by a leadership group and we also have many teams that look after the culture and climate of the group.<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\n\u201cWe believe that involving everyone helps us look after our younger players as well, who are involved for the first time in Super Rugby. We have to try and utilise the competency of people and their strengths, rather than just relying on a coach to give instruction.\u201d<\/p>\r\n<p>\r\nThe Bulls have their first pre-season hit-outs this coming weekend, where one side will face the Emirates Lions at Emirates Airline Park at 3pm while the other will head to Polokwane to face the Cell C Sharks at 6pm. The sides will be named later in the week.<\/p>",
    "blurb": "Vodacom Bulls coach John Mitchell believes his team \u201cstill has a long way to go\u201d before being the finished article ahead of this year\u2019s Vodacom Super Rugby tournament.",
    "date": "2018-01-23T08:42:14",
    "author": "Brenden Nel",
    "credit": "supersport.com",
    "img_credit": "John Mitchell \u00a9 Gallo Images",
    "category": "Vodacom Super Rugby",
    "videos": []
}