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Bulls want to reclaim former glories

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Thursday, December 20, 2018    Getty Images

New Bulls director of rugby Alan Zondagh told South African media that he would be assisting new Bulls Super Rugby coach Pote Human, who has stepped into the void left by former All Black John Mitchell, in making sure the Bulls play winning rugby.

Traditionally one of the powerhouses of the South African game, the Bulls have done it tough lately. Between 2005-13 they finished among the top five sides in Super tournaments seven times. They won the title three times during those years and remain the only South African side to have been crowned Super Rugby champions.

Since 2013 they haven't made it into the top eight and in 2018 they finished 12th. Critics believe South Africa's effort to play a more appealing style of rugby in the manner New Zealand sides have consistently achieved has come at a great cost to the South African game both in Super Rugby and in Test matches.

Only the Lions, who had the benefits of continuity in their players, had been able to foot it with New Zealand sides while the Springboks had endured two of the worst seasons in their history and were still attempting to get their game back together.

An indication of the desire to return to some of the traditional Bulls qualities have been reflected in their recruitment of Duane Vermeulen, Cornal Hendricks and Schalk Brits for the 2019 campaign. Zondagh said he wants to see those players work with the promising players in the Bulls region to ensure a continuity of success.

"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. We have to develop young players in such a way that they are knocking on the Super Rugby door every year," he said.

Central to achieving that would be having quality coaches who are able to 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," he said.