Bulls: ‘Impossible = I’m possible’

Bulls coach Heyneke Meyer, a man who seldom resorts to emotional outbursts, has revealed how he managed to convince his players that chasing a winning margin of 72 points or more is possible.

When the rest of the world, including his own family, refused to believe that the Bulls could beat the Reds by an improbably 72 points or more, he believed.

The result was a record 92-3 thrashing of the hapless Reds at Loftus Versfeld at the weekend, a result that saw the Bulls overtake both the Blues and Crusaders on the standings (on points difference), to finish second and host a Super 14 semi-final.

“We certainly believed that [72-point] target was possible,” Meyer told this website.

“I’m strong on that, self-belief. For me ‘impossible’ just stands for ‘I’m possible’.

“We worked out the permutations before the game and I told the players at the captain’s run on Friday that we must get 76, that was our target,” Meyer said, adding that he did not want to aim for just 72, because a late Reds score could have robbed them.

“We knew on Friday already that the target was 72 and if we got it, regardless of what happened in the Sharks game [on Saturday] we would be first or second.”

Meyer also revealed how he used various methods to motivate the players and get them to believe that it was possible, including sending the players SMSs.

“I told the players I believed in them and I knew they could do it, because we’ve done it before [the Bulls put 75 points past the Stormers in 2005].

“However, it was important that the players bought into it and really believed.

“I went to each individual player and asked him if he really believed and worked hard with the players on the mental side of things.

“We were heavily criticised for going for the win against the Force [in Week Three, which ended in a 27-30 defeat at Loftus Versfeld], when a penalty kick at goal would have given us a draw. Everybody said that one point is still going to cost us.

“However, those who know me will know that I’m a person who always goes for the win.

“We knew if we just win [and don’t get the 72 points margin] it would mean we play [the semi-final] in New Zealand. So we knew we had to go for it.

“Once you decide to go for it you can’t be scared and hold back. We had to go all out.

“In my team talk [before the match] – and I’m not very emotional in my team talks – I told the players that if you have the faith of a mustard seed, you can move a mountain … you can achieve everything.

“I told them it is simply a matter of believing.

“Yes, we knew we had to be at our very best and use every opportunity. I gave every player a target that he needed to get. I worked hard on them and told them in the week that nothing is impossible and we can do it.

“It is not a matter of being arrogant, our feet are still firmly on the ground, but we have to believe in our own ability.

“At half-time we were on target [leading by 35 points, 38-3], but I told them we’ve only laid the platform and that we needed to get 50 points in the second half …we got 54.”

Meyer also revealed how is own family thought chasing a 72-point winning margin is beyond his team.

“We had planned a get-together for my father-in-law’s birthday and they said we must have it at our house, then I can pack at the same time [for the trip to New Zealand].

“I told them I’m not packing, we’re going to get it – my own people didn’t believe us, but we believed.”

By Jan de Koning 365 Digital

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