We’ll play to win – Zondagh

The Bulls have spent recent seasons trying to shake their reputation for playing smashmouth rugby, but Alan Zondagh says the union is focused on getting results in 2019, not style points.

“Rugby consists of a conservative style and a more creative style and your players should be able to play both styles… the whole spectrum,” Zondagh said on Tuesday after being formally introduced to the media as the Bulls director of rugby, alongside Pote Human who has been promoted to Super Rugby head coach.

“I’ll be there to assist Pote in what he’s doing… we’ll make sure that we play winning rugby.”

Winning is a seven-letter word that hasn’t exactly been echoing in the corridors of Loftus Versfeld much over the past five seasons. South Africa’s infatuation with playing the aesthetically-pleasing style of rugby has come at great cost, in Super Rugby and in the Test arena.

Only the Lions, armed with unprecedented continuity, have offered any resistance to the New Zealand juggernaut while the Springboks have spent the past 12 months piecing their reputation back together after two of the worst seasons in team history.

Between 2005 and 2013, the Bulls finished among the top five teams on seven occasions, but they’ve haven’t cracked the top 8 since, including finishing 12th this season with a 6-10 record.

Like their SA counterparts, the steady decline of the once-mighty Bulls appears to have revived an appetite for success measured in wins, not skills. The acquisition of Duane Vermeulen, Cornal Hendricks and Schalk Brits arms the team with experience and credibility, and Zondagh is eager to tap into those assets on a quest to plant promising youngsters for a future Super Rugby harvest.

“I’ve worked with young players for many years and I think the most important thing at a union or franchise like this is the Super Rugby team,” he said. “We have to develop young players in such a way that they are knocking on the Super Rugby door every year.

Achieving that objective requires quality coaches who have the expertise to optimally develop players.

“It’s no use winning at under-19 and under-21 levels every year, but you’re not really making progress in Super Rugby. We have to look at our systems and get it to where our young players break into the Super Rugby squads. That is my main job.”

— Staff Writer

- All Out Rugby Staff Writer

Let's chat

  • Herman Schroder?

    Really ???? To quote the writer ‘ the Bulls appear to have revived an appetite for success measured in wins not skills ‘ Gee whiz and there I thought the most skilled teams win the most trophies ? Silly me.

    All Zondagh is really saying is that we will continue on our dom krag path with conservative no frills rugby and we will pick players to play it that way. Having tried to emulate the Lions with expansive play in the recent past and not succeeding they now creep back into their collective shells and think that will change their fortunes. Sounds so familiar. Little do they realize it but lack of skills is actually their problem and until they push through really talented skillful players with an expansive game plan to match they will again miss the boat.

    So what do they do ? They bring in plodder Vermeulen well versed in dom krag and little else, a long in the tooth winger and a jack in the box ‘retired’ hooker who celebrates his fortieth birthday in the not too distant future. Way to plan for the future guys.

    So at Loftus it’s business as usual. No doubt Fleckie will still inflict yet another season of incompetence on their long suffering supporters and the Du Preez dynasty will continue to ride the proverbial roller coaster of inconsistency, None of the glaring shortcomings of the past will have been addressed and the dom krag circus will once more be exposed.

    The Boks under Rassie with a preponderance of Bulls and Stormers players reflected the lack of real skill and vision in another failed year ( much worse than AC’s 2017 season ) and the classy players in the squad were dragged down to their level. Dom krag rugby reigned supreme and confirmed once again that we have the least skillful, visionary players of the top ten ranked teams in the world in many positions

    As for the Lions well it may well be a year of rebuilding but the culture and game plan is still there. Unlike the other Franchises who have spent years trying to improve and failing consistently the Lions have the right foundation to work on so beware you unbelievers. Cheers.

    • John Comyn

      Hermie I see your latest addiction is with Vermeulen. Is that because Rassie dropped Whiteley?

      • Herman Schroder?

        If Rassie dropped WW ( I thought he was injured ? ) then it only confirms what I’ve said all along, he is clueless. All the plodders will retained en masse next year despite a very poor season ie the Boks, Stormers, Bulls and to a slightly lesser degree the Sharkettes. The poor deluded among us will no doubt be crying into their beers again next year and Einstein’s theory will once more be proven spot on. Cheers old chap and have a wonderful holiday season.

    • John Comyn

      Oh for crying out loud Herman – put a sock in it!

      • Herman Schroder?

        The only thing that should be crying out loud is poor old Bokkie. How much more incompetence can the poor old jersey take ? Oh but the truth hurts some people. Cheers.

    • Albert

      I think you are slipping. You only said Dom Krag 4 times. And I yawned 17 times.

      • Herman Schroder?

        Careful there Albert yawning so much is either a condition of sorts or your concentration levels are lacking. However thanks for your support this past year and have a joyful holiday season. Get all the rest you can, next year is going to get even tougher for the domkraggers, lol. Cheers.

    • Barry

      I thought you were on leave with mum & dad…bugger!

      • Herman Schroder?

        Sorry to disappoint you mate just spent the last few days sharpening a few pencils for next year. Unlike others I think ahead. Can you believe it all those failed coaches from this year all retained for next year ? Oh boy as they say, if things don’t change they’re bound to remain the same. Anyway have a splendid holiday season and Cheers.

      • SweetAz

        They’ll ban him before much longer.

        • Herman Schroder?

          You wish old SweetAz. The truth shall overcome. Cheers.

    • SweetAz

      You are like a bloody broken record, a clueless repetitive, irritating screeching caterwauling noisy pain in the backside. AND I QUOTE THE Writer “Only the Lions, armed with unprecedented continuity, “——–YOU SEE, I am not the only one who understands WHY the Lions had a little bit of success, but instead of trying to uplift all the franchises AND SA rugby by trying to gain that same continuity throughout, NOOOOOO Mr knowitall Schroder has to try and drag everybody else down accusing all and sundry of all kinds of crap.

      Get it through your head once and for all, the skills of SA rugby players are on par throughout all the franchises, they ALL have skilful players capable of playing whatever kind of rugby is required, the ONLY thing lacking is cohesion due to a lack of continuity. Culture, gameplan, –my arse mate, I don’t care what culture or gameplan the Lions have,-if they dont have continuity they wont have cohesion and they will come nowhere.

      Just go ask the Blitzboks,—-you know, the ones who won last year based on defence,—according to them.

      • Herman Schroder?

        Oh poor SweetAz still angry but hanging on my every word. The only problem is I’ve once more been proven right and that sticks in your craw. Boks, Stormers, Bulls and to a lesser degree ( slightly ) the Sharkettes all failed AGAIN and your nemesis the Lions played once more in a Final. I don’t even need to defend them or my argument old chap, it’s so plain to see. Continuity yes, culture yes and an EXPANSIVE GAME PLAN brought them the success, simple really.

        The only question you need to ask yourself is, why when all our teams operated under the same conditions since 2014 the Lions were the only shining light ? Five years the others spent in a dom krag haze while the Lions ran rings around them. The level of incompetence by the others beggars belief my friend and guess what, they’ll all be back next season, how’s that for sheer ‘dom sonder krag’.

        But despite our differences mate let me wish you and your nearest and dearest a stress free holiday season. Remember it’s only a game. Cheers.

        • SweetAz

          The Lions failed AGAIN as well,—I don’t think they’ve even won a Currie cup in the last 3 years,—-so just what have they actually WON?

  • Albert

    Interesting. I guess over the last 9 years the Bulls have been making that fundamental flaw of NOT playing to win. Well knock me down, if its that simple then all our teams should just play to win.

    • John Comyn

      hahaha when I read this I was like “WTF” It was an epiphany for me. I now understand why the Bulls have not won anything for the last 100 or so years. THEY WERE NOT PLAYING TO WIN.

    • Barry

      Yes agreed, a bit of a silly statement to make.

      We can only but wish them well – it’s a fairly monumental task they face!

  • Nick

    Imagine being contracted to the Lions, and at the first session you find out that this ‘Brilliant Culture’ is really all about happy clappy christianity, and you just don’t dig it? What do you do? Just suck it in and pretend you dig it? Wave your hands around and close your eyes and stuff?

    Is that really the ‘Culture’ all super rugby should aspire to?

    I suppose it does give you a phenomenal fanaticism and belief if you believe that stuff. Should all SA teams go that way? Isn’t that the real reason they got rid of Nick Mallet? He had a system where you were not expected to have a prayer meeting before every game…..and after.

    • Barry

      A point that’s always baffled me a bit is, what if both sides pray?

      • Redge

        Good one Barry. If the guys who want to pray before and after the match let them do it but don’t force it on players who don’t feel comfortable with it. Maybe a lot of them don’t want to do it but if they don’t they might get victimise by the coach?

      • Chris

        “99 Bottles of beer on the wall, 99 bottles of beer……….”

  • Joos

    Lets stick to rugby gents and leave believes out of this because if you want to or not they were blessed with the gifts so why not thank the One that gave them the gift?

    I salute you players who acknowledge where your strengh comes from!!

    • Barry

      You suggest we stick to rugby then salute the players. The issue here Joos is that you need to respect people’s differing views

      • Redge

        Agree Barry it’s all about choice

  • Nick

    Of course during these fallow years when the Bulls abandoned their ‘Winning’ rugby and were losing, they played entertaining, skillful, intelligent and inovative stuff that influenced and impressed all who ever saw them! Lag myself siek!

  • Nick

    Exactly what I am suggesting Joos. A good ‘culture’ will stick to the rugby.

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