WHEN a team wins a Super Rugby match by 20 points and remains unimpressed with their performance, it is safe to say they have high expectations of themselves.
The Bulls recorded their first win of the season with a hefty 45-25 win over the Melbourne Rebels at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
While happy with the win, which ended a six-match losing streak since last season — their longest winless Super Rugby patch since the dire days of 2002 — the fact that the Bulls let slip a bonus point in a try-scoring frenzy does not sit well with the team.
Just five minutes into the second half of Saturday’s clash they had scored six tries, wing Bjorn Basson having scored a hat-trick, and had a comfortable 42-3 lead. At this stage, the visiting Rebels had not scored a five-pointer, therefore, the Bulls had comfortably secured the try bonus point.
According to the new Super Rugby rules, a team needs to score three more tries than their opposition in order to earn the try bonus point.
It took the next 10 minutes for the Australians to edge closer to denying the home team the extra log points as they scored a quick three tries, before later scoring a fourth for the try deficit to be only two at the end.
“Ja, 10 to 20 minutes into the second half, we let them back into the game when we should have taken the bonus point,” Bulls coach Nollis Marais lamented.
“We are happy with the win, but we should have finished it off and taken the bonus point. It is not good when you find yourself 42-3 ahead and then allow them to come back, ” Marais said.
Captain Adriaan Strauss conceded that there were some mixed feelings at the final whistle.
“It felt really good to win at Loftus and to play a good brand of rugby. But we needed the bonus point. Although we are happy with the win, we let it slip when it comes to the bonus point.”
The Bulls have a bye this week before hosting the Sharks at Loftus on March 18. Marais is keen to use the time to polish up some areas of play. “We are not even 30% where we would want to play. There are obviously improvements that we need to make,” he said.