Jake White Bull’s expect backlash from ‘hurting’ Stormers in Rainbow Cup
After a far from perfect performance against the Lions, Bulls coach Jake White hopes to have Springboks Duane Vermeulen and Trevor Nyakane back for what he expects to be a “fired-up” Stormers side on Saturday.
The Currie Cup champions scored three tries without reply in their 22-9 win over the Lions at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday night, but apart from the opening sequence that led to a try, the Bulls didn’t reach great heights as they continue their journey to a multi-faceted style of play in the Rainbow Cup SA.
White praised some of his experienced replacements, such as flyhalf Morné Steyn and prop Jacques van Rooyen, for bringing much-needed composure in the second half to help the Bulls close out the victory, having held on grimly to a 10-9 lead.
That’s why the former Bok coach is upbeat about the likely return of captain Vermeulen and tighthead prop Nyakane for the trip to Cape Town Stadium on Saturday (6.15pm kick-off), considering the number of Test players the Stormers have – particularly the front row of Steven Kitshoff, Bongi Mbonambi and Frans Malherbe.
John Dobson’s team were somewhat unlucky to go down 33-30 to the Sharks at the weekend, with discipline a problem as they had Seabelo Senatla and Willie Engelbrecht handed red cards, while Ruhan Nel knocked the ball on in the act of scoring the “winning” try in the last movement of the match.
“I think now that they’ve lost, I think they are going to be fired up. North-South derbies are always tough anyway. Can you imagine on the rebound of what they’ve gone through today – a couple of red cards, and an opportunity to win the game at the death?” White said about the Stormers.
“I can imagine that they would be maybe hurting and that they’d want to do well. Hopefully we’ll get Trevor and Duane back this week (after sitting out the Lions game due to Springbok resting protocols).
“Then a couple of other guys that are nearly there. So, we will have a look at the combinations and see what we think is the best to go and obviously challenge the Stormers.
“They scored three tries against the Sharks, and could have scored at the death there as well. Having played 40 minutes with 14 men, it’s not a bad return based on the fact that they, you know, as I said they had to play with less numbers for a long period of that game.”
White felt that the Bulls could have been a “bit smarter” in dealing with the Lions’ rush defence by kicking the ball into space, adding that the players may have been “seduced” by the first try, which saw them take the ball through 13 phases from the kick-off, with flyhalf Chris Smith crossing the line.
While he was happy that the Bulls earned three scrum penalties, White said that they didn’t scrum “as well as we could’ve”, and that the Stormers will present a “massive test” in the set-piece.