PRETORIA – Two yellow cards late on and a lack composure resulted in the Bulls’ first defeat to the Jaguares at Loftus on Saturday.
The 22-20 loss to the Argentine franchise had Bulls coach Pote Human scratching his head as his charges have struggled to beat overseas teams this season.
The Bulls seem to lift their game against the South African franchises, but cannot replicate that intensity when they come up against teams from other countries.
It was their second defeat to the Jaguares this season and their third against a foreign franchise, including a big loss to the Chiefs.
“In the week we said it was time to also show up against the overseas teams otherwise we may as well give up,” Human said after Saturday’s match. “This is a major disappointment for everyone and if we still want to be in the running we will have to pick up five points on Saturday against the Reds.”
The Bulls did the basics right with their scrum firing, their lineouts working despite the early loss of lock Eli Snyman while they seem to build scoreboard pressure.
But the side lacked the spark they have shown in their victories over the Sharks, Lions and Stormers.
The Pretoria-based team pretty much had Saturday’s match in the bag with 10 minutes to go, until things went horribly wrong.
Two yellow cards within minutes of each other and two tries by Jaguares super-sub Domingo Miotti, who made his debut, snuffed out the Bulls’ flame.
Before the massive momentum swing, the Bulls were on top thanks to a try by Jade Stighling and five penalties from Manie Libbok.
The Jaguares hardly looked like they would cause an upset with a converted try and a penalty to show for their efforts.
That was until Tim Agaba received his marching orders for cleaning out the ruck, by charging in with his shoulder.
Conraad van Vuuren followed Agaba to the sin bin minutes later, for taking a player out in the air.
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Human said his team needed to find a way to beat overseas teams if they want to have any chance of reaching the playoffs this season.
“We will have to make a mind shift, I think the guys make it personal when we play against the South African teams but we have to do it against the other teams too,” Human said.
“If you want to play for South Africa you have to be able to perform against the teams from abroad.”
Bulls: Try: Jade Stighling. Penalties: Manie Libbok (5)
Jaguares: Tries: Pablo Matera, Domingo Miotti (2). Conversion: Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, Miotti. Penalty: Iglesias