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Rugby | Vodacom Super Rugby

John Mitchell © Gallo Images

Bulls sticking to traditional strengths

Despite the fact that most South African teams played with a lot more flair last year in the Vodacom Super Rugby series, the Bulls are set to be "traditional" in their approach under coach John Mitchell.

Mitchell eluded to the fact that he wouldn't deviate from the team's traditional strengths, but would always be looking to "play better attacking rugby" in this year's competition.

While he was focused on his own team, he did notice some strengths that he believes will aid the Sharks and Stormers this year.

"What I’ve already seen is that the Sharks are very strong in their setpiece. Every side defends differently. The Stormers have nice hand speed with the ball, and they are very dominant and serious about their setpiece as well. They have a few experienced forwards missing as well. They’ve probably got more injuries than all of us, so that is always a difficult challenge in itself.

"I think we will still be traditional, still be strong in our setpiece, and we’re always seeking to play better attacking rugby but you also have to be able to go without the ball as well and be comfortable with that and present yourself opportunities. All I’ve really been focusing on is us and it has been quite refreshing not to have to go into the dossier of the opposition because there are going to be 19 weeks of that to come. We’ve been concentrating just on our own game.

"From my observations from those two trials, that’s where their strengths lie I think."

Mitchell was also happy with his team's performance against the Stormers this past weekend. While they didn't focus on the result, reports indicate they could have won easily if they didn't turn down so many kicks at goal. But the coach was satisfied with the outcomes his team got from the game.

"The stuff we wanted to improve on we did, so that was good. We dominated the performance and the contest for long periods of time, which is very pleasing. Everyone got rugby and we only got a small amount of knocks as well, which is always pleasing. It was certainly a step in the right direction and this gives us form to build from going into this week," he added.

"We are working on everything. We’re trying not to miss anything, so we’re repeating a lot of stuff. Now that we have game situations it’s even better learning because you can take the players back into that situation and because of their experience they can be involved in the process and create a better way of dealing with things.

"Also a lot of stuff we are doing is quite generic at the moment. Obviously as we get into each week there will be some specifics as related to each opposition."

The Bulls name their team for their pre-season game against the Jaguares at Loftus Versfeld this Thursday.


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