Describing his team's performance against Western Province as a "huge disappointment" Blue Bulls coach Pine Pienaar praised the home team for their quality performance but said his players had put themselves under pressure.
Speaking to the media after Western Province had scored a four-tries-to-one 35-7 victory over the Blue Bulls in their Currie Cup match at Newlands on Saturday, Pienaar commented: "I think the score reflects what happened. We weren't good enough.
"We didn't have quality ball and especially in the first half, our discipline cost us.
"We had a few soft moments in the first half which put us under pressure.
"You can't play rugby like that. Once in a while you can come back but against as good a defensive system as Province you're always going to struggle.
"Province are always a quality side at Newlands. They have a good defence system and will punish you when you make a mistake and that's what they did."
Pienaar said that by allowing themselves to trail 0-18 against a team with an outstanding defence system, they had put themselves under pressure.
"What Province did very well was to keep us in our half. In the second half we got into their 22 twice and we couldn't execute when we were there. We just weren't able to execute what we were wanting to do."
The coach complimented Province on their tactical kicking, saying fullback Conrad Jantjes, flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis and scrumhalf Dewaldt Duvenage had all kicked well.
"Demetri and Conrad are both outstanding players and I think Demetri has done well to come through from the Varsity Cup," said Pienaar, adding: "Dewaldt's kicking was also excellent and they put us under constant pressure. On the day we weren't able to handle it well."
Blue Bulls captain Gary Botha commented: "It's always tough coming down to Newlands and playing a Province side. You know for sure there's going to be a battle in the first phases.
"We knew it was going to be tough against a quality team. You've got to take your chances and limit your mistakes."
Asked whether in the process of rebuilding a team the Bulls expected to stumble along the way, Botha answered: "Hopefully we don't stumble too much, but matches are the only place the guys learn.
"We tell ourselves you've got to learn and you've got to learn quickly, because winning is a habit and so is losing."
Botha believed that the younger players would learn through experience in playing Currie Cup matches and in certain key positions decision-making would need to improve.
This could not be learned on the practice field, only in games. The quicker youngsters learned, the quicker they'd develop into quality players and to make the right decisions at the right time.
The skipper was full of praise for the Western Province performance.
"At the end of the day I think Province executed in broken field, at the breakdowns, much better than we did and you can see the reflection on the scoreboard.
"It felt to me like typical Bulls rugby we played against. They get you in your half, keep you in your half. You do most of the ball-carrying but if you don't take care of the ball, at breakdown they're in and then out with the ball."
Botha said Province had played as the Bulls would have liked to have played but that Province had executed better.
By Len Kaplan at Newlands
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