Bulls captain Dewald Potgieter has defended his decision to turn down a number of kickable penalties in Saturday's loss to the Brumbies.
Bulls captain Dewald Potgieter has defended his decision to turn down a number of kickable penalties in the last quarter of Saturday's semi-final loss to the Brumbies at Loftus Versfeld.
Three times Potgieter opted to go for a line-out instead of giving machine machine Morne Steyn a crack at goal when they Bulls led by a single point in the closing stages of an intense battle in Pretoria.
After three failed attempts to set up a driving maul from the line-outs coach Frans Ludeke finally sent instructions for Potgieter to change tactics, but it was only in the 76th minute that Steyn could extend the lead to four points.
Many pundits have slammed the Potgieter's decisions after Brumbies centre Tevita Kuridrani's last-minute try sealed a 26-23 victory for the visitors.
“We tried to have an attacking mindset at that point,” said Potgieter.
“We tried to spend most of the time in their territory and it was working for us right up to the end – when we took the penalty and we were back in our own half.
“We just could not exit [our half] from there. We'd been struggling the whole match with our exits – so that was basically the reasoning behind that.
“[It is] not always a popular choice, but you've got to back what you want to do and the guys were of the same mindset at that time.”
Brumbies captain Ben Mowen hailed his men for their brilliant defence when the Bulls were dominating both territory and possession late in the game.
“Momentum comes and goes in games and you've just got to make sure that when it is against you it's not costing you on the scoreboard,” he said.
“The Bulls have got an outstanding rolling maul. We scrambled so well off our line-out defence inside our 22-metres five or six times there.”
Despite the defeat, Potgieter praised his team for the effort they put in, but admitted they had made life difficult for themselves with slow start.
“We were up against a side that was good in the set pieces, we knew it was going to be a big battle.
“When it counted, in the second half, our guys came through in those [set piece] departments.
“The guys, after about 15 [to] 20 minutes, [they] made a mental switch and we decided to play the balanced attacking rugby that has suited us so well this year,” said Potgieter.
“We got the lead and did really well, but once again a bad start probably put us on the back foot.”