‘Play the way the Bulls play’: Jake White delighted with four tries yet again
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CAPE TOWN - For all the talk of ‘Jake White rugby’ and ‘Bulls rugby’, when you take a closer look at how the Pretoria side have played in the Rainbow Cup SA, it has been a refreshing mix of pace, power and skill.
That was evident once again at Kings Park on Saturday, as the Bulls came from 7-6 behind to grab a 34-22 victory and secure a place in the Rainbow Cup final against Benetton in Treviso next Saturday (6.30pm kickoff).
The yellow cards to Marco van Staden and Trevor Nyakane in the second half didn’t stop them, even though it cost the visitors a try, as they had already built up an impressive 32-15 lead.
White said that the turning point came in the 34th minute of the first half – when the Bulls absorbed wave after wave of Shark attacks, and Thembelani Bholi had the ball dislodged by Van Staden as he dived over the line – as a seven-pointer there would’ve put the hosts 14-6 up.
“That incident when they lost the ball over the line was a big turning point, as they would then have had their second try from the four they needed,” White said afterwards.
“I’m obviously very happy with the fact that we could defend with 13 guys. There are some really good attacking players in the Sharks team, and to keep them out while we had 13 guys on the field… I think they scored one try there.
“But I would prefer it if we had 15 guys on the field. Guys like Nizaam (Carr) and Gio Aplon probably helped us a bit because their experience told in the end – the way they could talk to the youngsters.”
But the fact that the Bulls themselves could claim a four-try bonus point was a serious statement of intent from White’s team that they are able to vary their style.
It was the fourth time in six games that they had scored four tries or more in the competition, with the set-piece move from a lineout that saw wing Stravino Jacobs slice in between Curwin Bosch and Lukhanyo Am the try of the match.
“This game was extraordinary because of the fact that the Sharks had to score four tries. But the message the whole time is that we are going for the win, and play the way the Bulls play. What you’ve seen over the time we’ve been together, is that we work hard,” White said.
“If it takes up to the 79th minute to get our (fourth) try, we’ve got to believe it’s going to come, because we want to out-work the opposition. We got the job done, and in six games, we’ve scored four or five tries four times, which is pleasing as well.
“I suppose that’s a spin-off from the Preparation Cup, when the intensity and ball-in-play, and all those things that were pushed by the national team were put into place.”