Ken Borland
Sports Journalist
2 minute read
23 Nov 2020
5:08 pm

Now we need to finish the job in the Currie Cup, says Bulls’ Winter

Ken Borland

The forwards coach is satisfied with his players' performance in the lineouts, but there are still concerns around the scrumming.

Bulls forwards coach Russell Winter says winning the Unlocked trophy last weekend was only half the job; winning the Currie Cup, which starts this week, will finish the job. Picture: Getty Images

The Bulls may have their first piece of senior silverware in a decade in their trophy cabinet, but there will be no resting on their laurels, with forwards coach Russell Winter saying on Monday that winning the Currie Cup is now a massive goal for the team.

The Bulls clinched the Super Rugby Unlocked title at the weekend but, with points carrying over from that probable one-off competition into the historic Currie Cup, it certainly feels like a job only half-done at Loftus Versfeld. But at least they carry a four-point lead into South Africa’s biggest domestic tournament.

“The Currie Cup is massively important for us and it’s still early days this season because the Currie Cup only really starts this weekend. So we want to make sure we continue working and sharpening our blades,” Winter said on Monday. “It’s about the detail and everybody is trying to be on the same page in terms of that, but it’s also about how we execute so we don’t want to over-complicate things.

“But there’s a really good working culture here and the players want to do well not just for themselves, but for their families, the supporters, the union and the sponsors.

“Jake White has created an environment where the players have to work really hard to make the team. But we also want to give everyone a chance, while doing what is best for the team going forward.”

Where the Bulls seemed to have a discrete advantage over their rivals in Super Rugby Unlocked was in the sheer physicality and excellence of their pack, but Winter said their success was not just a matter of acquiring the biggest and most powerful players, but more about attention to detail.

“The players have been willing to work really hard and it’s not just about brute force,” he said. “There is so much synergy required in things like making sure the lineout works smoothly. And the players have really absorbed and been open to what I have had to offer. It’s about the detail because all the packs in the competition are so well conditioned.

“The lineouts have been good so far and Ruan Nortje has been phenomenal; people don’t realise how young he is (22) and he’s taken on a massive responsibility in calling and organising the lineout. His work ethic is second to none, as well as those around him. But our scrums have been inconsistent and we’re not where we want to be with those,” Winter said.

And the former Stormers forwards coach knows that that is an area where Western Province will try and cause some cracks in the pack when they meet at Newlands in the opening round of the Currie Cup on Saturday night.

“Western Province are probably the leaders in that department, they have such a good front row,” Winter added.

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