I can’t say that watching Super Rugby excites me like it used to, and judging by the attendance at matches in South Africa, it appears I’m not alone.
There will always be the diehard supporters to keep things ticking over, and fans don’t come more diehard than the Loftus faithful.
According to their Director of Rugby, Alan Zondagh, the Bulls’ support now extends all the way down to the Cape, which may come as a surprise to many.
Zondagh credits former coach John Mitchell for changing the team’s “mindset”, with the Bulls now playing a more open game, as opposed to trusting a burly pack to do the damage.
Over to Sport24 with more from Zondagh:
“I could just see on the field there is a mindset change, and usually that doesn’t happen so quickly. If you go into a new team and have a certain philosophy, it takes you a time to settle that team. I was impressed with that, that impressed me. How the hell did he get that right?!
Zondagh [below] said it was key to continue building on those changes for the Bulls right now.
“For us to build on that, and you’ve seen the change… I’ve got the whole of the Cape supporting the Bulls lately. I’ve got long WhatsApp messages from people in the Cape and they all say they love the way the Bulls are playing rugby now. We are carrying on with that but we are not the finished product yet. It is a work in progress.”
I think most South African rugby fans are happy to support our Super Rugby unions whenever they play, unless it’s against their own team, but I get what Zondagh is saying.
He’s also talking sense when it comes to a specialised skills department at the Bulls, which was another Mitchell decision, because we’ve all shouted at the screen about a lack of basics from time to time.
Like Malcolm Marx’s lineouts:
“So if a guy can’t pass to his left, that skills department will know he can’t pass properly, especially when he is under pressure. That will be sorted out. He will go for “treatment”.
“We are going to spend time to make sure of it. Why can the Springbok hooker Marx, still in a Test, lose vital lineouts as a thrower – he is one of the best hookers in the world. But that is his Achilles heel, and everybody knows it. They are going to put pressure on him in the lineout and if he makes his first mistake, then it is mental now. Now you have to change that, but why can’t that be sorted out, is it so difficult?”
He hopes that this skills department will ultimately benefit not only the Bulls, but also the Springboks.
Sort out Malcolm’s lineouts, Alan, and we’ll give you the keys to the city.
Just don’t expect us to cheer for the Bulls when they set foot on Newlands.
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