The Bulls celebrates a try during the 2021 Rainbow Cup match between Bulls and Stormers at Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria, on 04 May 2021 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix
The Bulls celebrates a try during the 2021 Rainbow Cup match between Bulls and Stormers at Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria, on 04 May 2021 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Bulls also want to score four tries against Sharks, quips Jake White

By Ashfak Mohamed Time of article published Jun 11, 2021

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CAPE TOWN - Will the Bulls run it or kick it against the Sharks? Well, coach Jake White tried to sow some doubt into the opposition's minds yesterday when he announced his team for tomorrow's Rainbow Cup South Africa decider at Kings Park.

The former Springbok coach's first unusual move was to shift established No 5 lock Ruan Nortje to blindside flank, which was necessitated by Elrigh Louw's ankle injury that will sideline him for up to seven weeks.

White didn't quite have a like-forlike replacement loose forward for big bruiser Louw, with Arno Botha also out with a hamstring issue, while injured captain Duane Vermeulen has been replaced at No 8 by Marcell Coetzee.

But still, to effectively make two changes to solve one problem – as Janko Swanepoel now replaces Nortje at No 5 – is not usually White's style.

ALSO READ: Stormers and Lions Rainbow Cup clash called off after positive Covid-19 tests

To add to the intrigue, White said Nortje could evolve into a fine No 7 from the second row, just like Pieter-Steph du Toit – adding that being able to play two positions would be good for his “career going forward”.

But the bigger picture is the Rainbow Cup final in Treviso next Saturday, where Benetton are waiting to see whether they will face the Bulls or Sharks.

White's team need only a single bonus point to advance, while the Sharks need a bonus-point victory and need to prevent the Bulls from getting one themselves at Kings Park.

ALSO READ: Bulls’ Marco Jansen van Vuren will be aiming to shut down Lukhanyo Am in Rainbow Cup SA encounter

The Bulls coach suggested that the Durbanites will have to go outside of their regular approach – which involves kicking from their own half and only holding on to possession inside the opponents' half – to achieve their goal, which could provide new captain Coetzee and his team with attacking opportunities.

The visitors are also keen to end their Kings Park bogey, having lost their last two matches there under White.

“Correct, that's exactly it (motivation to win in Durban). If you go there … it's like playing 50-over cricket. If you just want to block out and think you can bat through the 50 overs, you can't win – the reality is that you need to make runs,” White said.

ALSO READ:There’s a lot riding on the Bulls game, says Sharks captain Lukhanyo Am

“It's going to be an exciting game because we also want to score four tries. The one way we know we get a point is if we score four tries. And that is exciting, because it means we are going to go flat-out for four tries and they are going flat-out for four tries.

“Once we get four tries, then we've got our destiny in our hands again. And I'm almost sure if we score four tries, we will be close to winning the game as well.

“I'm excited about the fact that we scored four tries against them here, we scored four against the Stormers, we scored five against the Lions. So, it will be a nice opportunity for us to see if we can keep that momentum going.”

Asked if that actually meant that the Bulls are going to kick their penalties and launch up-and-unders, White said: “Oh ja! That's how you play the Sharks – isn't that how you play them?”

Bulls Team

15 David Kriel 14 Madosh Tambwe 13 Marco Jansen van Vuren 12 Cornal Hendricks 11 Stravino Jacobs 10 Morné Steyn 9 Ivan van Zyl 8 Marcell Coetzee (captain) 7 Ruan Nortjé 6 Marco van Staden 5 Janko Swanepoel 4 Walt Steenkamp 3 Mornay Smith 2 Johan Grobbelaar 1 Gerhard Steenekamp

Bench: 16 Schalk Erasmus 17 Jacques van Rooyen 18 Trevor Nyakane 19 Nizaam Carr 20 Muller Uys 21 Keagan Johannes 22 Clinton Swart 23 Gio Aplon

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