WP will be up for Bulls challenge after Stormers’ hiding at Loftus
CAPE TOWN - Jake White is not someone who backs down from a bit of banter in the media, and after over three decades in the professional game, he still gives as good as he gets.
After reading that Western Province forwards coach Rito Hlungwani said tongue-in-cheek that WP are like Orlando Pirates in rugby after White compared his Super Rugby Unlocked champion Bulls to Liverpool and Manchester United – and that the Pretoria side had played only two away games – the former Springbok coach laid it on thick when announcing a largely unchanged team for tomorrow’s Currie Cup clash at Newlands (7pm kick-off).
Despite the Bulls having won five out of their six matches and playing an exciting brand of rugby, White seemed to suggest that Province are the favourites this weekend.
“They are a fantastic side with a settled group of coaches. They’ve got the World Cup-winning captain (Siya Kolisi) back this weekend; they have some fantastic players. They have been consistently one of the form teams in competitions, and don’t often lose out on a playoff in Currie Cups,” he said.
“They have an incredible record at Newlands and haven’t lost (there) to the Bulls since 2009. I’ve got no doubt that they will be up for it. They were obviously beaten convincingly here, and that will drive them.
“It is going to be a fantastic opportunity for us to measure ourselves. They’ve got everything in their favour.”
Asked if all of that meant that it was the Bulls against the Springboks, and that his team had no chance of winning, White quipped: “No, I didn’t say that! I said the Springbok captain, who hasn’t been around for a while … It’s like Liverpool against Orlando Pirates – I didn’t say that either! Let’s just make sure we understand that.
“Let’s put things into perspective: they’ve got the same coaching staff for a long, long time. They’ve got the same players for a long, long time.
“This (Bulls) group, we mustn’t get ahead of ourselves – we’ve only been together for about six months, and part of that was affected by Covid. Yes, we’ve done reasonably well.
“We’ve had four home games, as Rito (Hlungwani, WP forwards coach) quite rightly says, and the draw has favoured us.
“So, this is going to be a massive challenge for us going to play at Newlands, where we haven’t won since 2009. It’s going to be a massive game.”
Teams for Newlands
Western Province: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Seabelo Senatla, 13 Dan du Plessis, 12 Rikus Pretorius, 11 Angelo Davids, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Juarno Augustus, 7 Ernst van Rhyn, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Salmaan Moerat, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Bench (from): 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Ali Vermaak, 18 Kwenzo Blose, 19 Neethling Fouche, 20 David Meihuizen, 21 Chris van Zyl, 22 Jaco Coetzee, 23 Marcel Theunissen, 24 Godlen Masimla, 25 Tim Swiel, 26 Ruhan Nel.
Bulls: 15 David Kriel, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Stedman Gans, 12 Cornal Hendricks, 11 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 10 Chris Smith, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Duane Vermeulen (c), 7 Arno Botha, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Ruan Nortje, 4 Walt Steenkamp, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Johan Grobbelaar, 1 Jacques van Rooyen.
Bench: 16 Corniel Els, 17 Gerhard Steenekamp, 18 Marcel van der Merwe, 19 Sintu Manjezi, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Clinton Swart, 23 Marco Jansen van Vuren.