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Bulls kicking decisions flummox critics

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Sportal.co.nz     28 Jul 2013     Getty Images

The Brumbies claimed a 26-23 win to set up a final with the Chiefs in Hamilton on Saturday.

Leading the criticism was former Springboks five-eighths Naas Botha, a prolific goal-kicker, who said Bulls ace Morne Steyn should have told his captain he was going to kick the points and the team could start again.

Former Springboks coach Nick Mallett said turning down the kicks was 'strangely un-Bulls-like'.

Brumbies coach, and former World Cup-winning Springboks coach, Jake White told the post-match press conference that the Bulls decision to not take three shots at goal in the final quarter were a boost for his side.

"The players said they grew a bit of a leg on the basis that they weren't going for poles. It almost, I suppose, helped us a bit because we kept saying, 'they are leaving the door open'.

"I don't know what the reason for that was, considering that they took [Chilliboy] Palepelle off and they had a new hooker, and then you have the best goal-kicker in the competition on the field," he said.

But White said the win at Loftus Versfeld had shown what his team was capable of.

"We came here and no-one thought we could win at Loftus. Now, all of a sudden, the hurdle gets bigger again.

"They have just done everything I have asked of them this year - beat the Lions, won the Australian conference and beat the Bulls at Loftus.

"Who knows? Maybe if they just prepare and get their minds right we couod be up for a surprise," he said.

The Brumbies were fly to Hamilton on Thursday.

Bulls coach Frans Ludeke said his captain Dewald Potgieter believed that the Brumbies had pinned the Bulls in their own quarter and by going for line-outs his side kept the touries in their own half.

"He felt like keeping them down there, and if you look at the whole evening getting out of our half - we weren't on top of that area of our game.

"His feeling was to keep them down there and the pressure if on them as they can't get out of their half," he said.

Potgieter said: "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 from there. We'd been struggling the whole match with our exits, so that was basically the reasoning behind that.
"We were up against a side that was good in the set pieces, we knew it was going to be a big battle.

Brumbies captain Ben Mowen said his side's fitness had been vital.

"We're a very fit side - we trust our fitness so we knew we could be in it for the last 40 [minutes].

"We love being away together as a group. Some of our best performances have been on the road," he said.