Mapoe urges Bulls to get United Rugby Championship campaign on track
Utility back admits they had let themselves down when they lost 31-3 loss to Irish side Leinster
The Bulls‚ who went into the inaugural United Rugby Championship (URC) competition on a high after they won the Currie Cup‚ were thrashed 31-3 at the Aviva Stadium with their hosts Leinster scoring four unanswered tries.
In fact‚ it was an underwhelming weekend for SA teams as the Stormers lost 22-18 to Italian side Benetton‚ the Sharks were thrashed 42-17 by Irish side Munster and the only team to win were the Lions who beat Italian side Zebre 38-26.
“I just think we let ourselves down and going forward there are a number of things that we must work on‚” Lionel Mapoe said as they prepared for their second match of the competition against another Irish side‚ Connacht‚ on Friday.
“We must show that we are better than the way we played in the first match against Leinster because when you look at the score it is not a reflection of who we are as a team.”
Mapoe said they have to adapt quickly as playing in a new competition and against new opposition will not be easy.
“We knew that ... we were going to have to adapt‚ obviously certain refereeing calls will sometimes go for us in SA and they won’t go for us here. We can’t focus on the refs because we don’t prepare for them. We can’t focus on how the ref blows the game. We just have to focus on what we need to do in the game.
“We always knew the conditions were going to be challenging. We just have to adapt accordingly and not make silly mistakes because when you make mistakes at this level you will be punished.”
Mapoe said that the transition to the Bulls since he joined them from Stade Francais in France in June has been good and he is getting back to his best.
“The transition was easy because all the players accepted me into the team very well. I have been in teams where there was unhappiness but it is a different story here.
“When I came to the Bulls‚ everybody was inviting me into the circle and they have accepted me‚ that was pretty awesome and it helped me to focus fully on playing my rugby.”
URC fixtures (SA teams only):
Friday: Scarlets vs Lions (8.35pm)‚ Connacht vs Bulls (8.35pm)
Saturday: Glasgow Warriors vs Sharks (4pm)‚ Munster vs Stormers (8.35pm)
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