‘Get yourself up’ – Bulls eager to bounce back from Leinster drumming

Dylan Coetzee
Bulls captain Marcell Coetzee and lock Ruan Nortje.

Bulls captain Marcell Coetzee and lock Ruan Nortje.

Bulls co-captain Marcell Coetzee is looking for his charges to pick themselves up for their Lyon clash after falling well short against Leinster last time out.

It was first against second in the United Rugby Championship last weekend with the Bulls looking to upset Leinster, but that did not happen as the Irish side put them away 47-14 on the day.

No time to sit on it

There is little time to dwell on the result with a Champions Cup knockout against Lyon at Loftus Versfeld loading. The Bulls faced the French side in the pool stages away from home but lost with a young team – a result they will be eager to avenge.

“If you take the tour as a whole, it was a very good first week. We got five points (against the Dragons), which is never easy. We didn’t play our best rugby against Leinster, particularly in the second half,” Coetzee said.

“We went out to measure ourselves and I think we did it very well in the first half. But I think the second half, with the experience that they had, they were better than us. We have to be humble about that.

“The whole week’s preparation going into Lyon is to learn from your mistakes, what you didn’t do in the second half particularly. Look at yourself and get yourself up. That was the leadership’s task this week, to get the boys up. This is not going to be an easy game. We don’t have time to sit and be sad.”

He added: “It was a challenge when we played there. We went with another squad, a lot of youngsters who got a good experience. I take my hat off to the guys that played on the day. There were chances to win that game, but also a few soft moments, a lack of experience. We ticked the boxes that day and we know what we are facing.

“Lyon is a class side. They showed what they did now in the Top 14 against Bordeaux. Playoffs are all about what happens on the day. They are physical at the breakdowns and want to take the game to you. They also have the flair to mix it up.”

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Learn from experience

Coetzee admits that part of growing as a player and a team is learning how to get back up after a heavy defeat and deliver a big performance.

“A lot of the youngsters in the squad are aspiring to be Springboks,” he said. “As a collective, we are striving to be one of the best teams. Some lessons you have to learn the hard way, unfortunately. I had to take it when I was a junior, pursuing my dreams. I played in games where we took 40 or 50 points. It’s all about how you approach that, your attitude and how you confront it.

“It is going to happen in your career, but it can only be a failure if you didn’t take the lessons from it. It happens in sport and particularly in life. That’s been the big message this week, sometimes that is going to happen, you are going to get knocked, but you have to get yourself up.”

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