Former Bok winger Ray Mordt believes the Vodacom Blue Bulls must sort out their defence before the Absa Currie Cup semi-final against Western Province at Loftus.
The Bulls conceded five tries against the Cheetahs on Saturday, which allowed the Free Staters to top the log on points difference.
Mordt blamed Bulls outside centre JP Nel for the poor defensive effort.
“The Bulls really missed Wynand Olivier. JP Nel and Dries Scholtz had to form a new centre combination that didn’t really come off,” said Mordt. “Nel was guilty of coming off his line too quickly, instead of trusting the guy on his inside.
“Defence is all about communication and that was lacking between the two centres. Twice Nel shot out too quickly and twice Philip Burger scored. Nel should have tried to shadow the Cheetahs attackers towards the touchline and reduce the space out wide.”
Meanwhile, Bulls coach Pote Human said his side were desperate to regain the title they lost to the Cheetahs last year.
“We are very hungry to win the Currie Cup this year,” he said. “We gave it away to Free State and we want it back.”
Human said the Bulls had lifted their game since the return of Olivier, Akona Ndungane and Pierre Spies from Bok duty.
“The Boks have made a huge difference,” he said. “We were under big pressure at the end of the competition and had to win our last four games to qualify. Now we’re in the semis and are looking forward to the game against Western Province.”