PRETORIA – The Bulls may have used their get-out-of-jail card in their scrappy 19-16 win over the Sharks in Durban on Saturday, but coach Pote Human will take the victory either way.
When Human was asked whether he considered the win a “smash-and-grab” at the post-match press conference, he was unperturbed.
“I don’t care what you call it, I am just happy with the win,” Human said.
“I think the guys really showed character to come back from last week, after that loss (against the Chiefs) you are worried about the attitude but the guys really came out.
“Although it wasn’t a nice game, it was ugly, we will take this win and it will definitely help us going forward.”
The victory was the right remedy to restore some confidence after the crushing defeat to the Chiefs a week ago.
They have subsequently moved from fourth place in the South African conference to second where they trail the table-topping Lions by one point.
— Official Blue Bulls (@BlueBullsRugby) March 30, 2019
The Bulls now have a chance of getting themselves into a favourable position before their next bye as they host the Jaguares and Reds at Loftus over the next two weeks.
While they may be playing at home, the advantage alone will not be good enough for them to get over the next two hurdles.
The Pretoria-based team’s performance against the Sharks was anything but a tidy display where they made a number of handling errors.
Human said the playing conditions played a major role in the error-stricken match with the high humidity making the ball difficult to handle.
“We always play to score tries but it was very wet out there and the humidity was really bad, the guys told me at halftime they couldn’t handle the ball,” Human said. “Then you use someone like Polly (Handre Pollard) could really control the game which really worked for us today.”
The Bulls had some luck go their way with an early Sharks try being disallowed due to a dodgy TMO decision.
The home side also missed a few of opportunities with Sharks pivot Robert du Preez missing two conversions and a penalty.
It was marksman Pollard’s boot that finally clinched the game after the two teams were level on 16-all.
The decisive penalty came courtesy of a shove and a half from a young Bulls front-row inducing the arm from the referee. Pollard’s metronomic kicking and game management has been one of the Bulls’ strong points so far this season with Human singing the Springbok flyhalf’s praises.
“At this stage, he is just world-class, he controlled the game really well and keeps the guys calm on the field,” Human said.
“When we need the points he takes it, which is really helping us.”