Great to see Stormers slowing the game down due to Bulls’ intensity, says Jake White
CAPE TOWN – The manner in which the Bulls are trying to speed up their play could benefit the Springboks in the long run too, Jake White believes.
Despite a drama-filled finish to Friday night’s 34-29 victory over the Stormers – where opposition No 8 Juarno Augustus lost the ball forward in the act of scoring in the final move of the game – the home side also showed tremendous enterprise on attack in scoring five tries.
They managed to keep the ball through a number of phases quite a few times during the encounter, and also scored some superb tries – the pick of which was left wing Marco Jansen van Vuren’s long-range effort.
The Bulls moved the ball swiftly from a lineout just inside the Stormers half, with right wing Madosh Tambwe the extra man and delivering an excellent pass to put Richard Kriel into space.
The fullback drew the last defender, Damian Willemse, before finding Jansen van Vuren – although the pass looked slightly forward, referee AJ Jacobs was adamant that it was not, saying he was in line with the play.
Jansen van Vuren used all his strength to power through Leolin Zas, before spinning around despite the attention of Kade Wolhuter and Ruhan Nel to dot down.
“I’ve said that this is a unique competition, as the PRO16 that we are going to go into, some of those games will be played in January/February in South Africa. I’m sure it’s going to be something that the northern-hemisphere sides will have to cope with,” White said afterwards.
“In this game, I think there was 38 minutes ball-in-play (time), and that’s incredible. To think at altitude, we played 38 minutes ball-in-play, you’ve got to be really fit to play that amount of rugby.
“You could see at stages that the Stormers were on their knees, and that their medical and coaching staff were running on with water and slowing the game down. That is always great to see, because Bulls teams have probably always been branded as slowing the game down and playing with their forwards.
“I don’t think it is going to be such a great bonus for us now, because it’s relatively new for us. But I have no doubt if we can do this for six, seven, eight months, by the time they come here at the end of this year, and by the time we play those sides in those conditions in October, November, December here, then we will get the fruits.
“I think also that the South African national team will be able to get the fruits, because if we can all play like this – Japan play a certain way because all their clubs play a certain way. New Zealand play a certain way because all their franchises play a certain way.”
While White was pleased with the character shown by his team to come back from 20-7 down, he said that they conceded too many penalties, and that they needed to be more alert towards the end – where he felt that they took the kickoff too quickly with time almost up on the clock, which allowed the Stormers to launch one final attack.
He will also hope that centre Stedman Gans is not badly hurt, after the outside centre limped off in the second half for what looked like a knee injury.
The Bulls are next in action against the Sharks on Friday in Durban (7pm kickoff).