The Bulls’ curse in Canberra continued as they once again fell to the Brumbies, losing 10-22 on Friday.
Woeful tackling at times and poor decision-making hampered Pote Human’s troops, who also struggled to deal with enterprising opponents, who themselves forsook their usual power-play to run with the ball more.
It worked a treat, meaning the Bulls are still win-less in the Aussie capital since 2007.
Who was the star in this match?
Home midfielder Kuridrani certainly had more than enough support in setting up his three visits behind the whitewash, but still needed to round off those opportunities. And for that he deserves plaudits. His second try was characterised by his excellent running line and neat footwork.
Key moments and themes
- The Bulls’ greatest failing in this game was a longstanding one. After an improved defensive effort last week against the Rebels, the men from Loftus allowed the home side far too much space on attack and fell off tackles with alarming regularity. Out of the 135 they were required to make, they missed 30. The inconsistency in this regard is baffling.
- The Brumbies deserve credit for their approach. They’re known as one of Australia’s more practical teams in terms of their game-plan. They could easily have fallen into the same attritional pattern as the Bulls, but instead gradually realised their opponents were leaky on defence and exploited that with some purposeful, attacking rugby. It was good to see a rare sighting in 2019’s tournament: A team making all the play actually also dominating the scoreboard.
- In contrast, the Bulls misfired on attack and their inability at times to make any inroads territorially was painful to watch. They were also undone by some vital errors on the front foot. Wing Cornal Hendricks missed a golden opportunity to put the Brumbies under pressure when his kick forward went to touch instead of keeping it in-field, while prop Trevor Nyakane conceded a scrum penalty with the Bulls just 5m away from the tryline in the second half. Discipline and decision-making was lacking.
- While Duane Vermeulen will be rested for the next two weeks anyway, there will be concern on all fronts after he cried off with a shoulder complaint with about 20 minutes remaining. The Bulls and Springboks will hope it doesn’t keep him on the sidelines for a significant period.
Brumbies – Tries: Tevita Kuridrani (3), Irae Simone. Conversion: Christian Leali’ifano.
Bulls – Try: Hanro Liebenberg. Conversion: Manie Libbok. Penalty: Libbok.