Bulls director Jake White: ‘It’s like letting children go and play outside again’

Jake White won the Rugby World Cup with the Springboks in 2007.
Jake White won the Rugby World Cup with the Springboks in 2007.

Bulls director of rugby Jake White has said that teams may not get the six weeks needed to get players up to a reasonable level of fitness before playing competitive matches.

On Thursday Minister of Sport Nathi Mthethwa gave SA Rugby the green light to return to the playing field subject to compliance with measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

“In the real world you would need about six weeks of contact training and friendly matches to get everything going but I don’t think we are going to be allowed that‚” he said.

“What Covid-19 has taught is that what you want and what you get is not the same thing. There is so much more at play like sponsorships that need to be looked after and the Springboks getting ready for the end-of-year tour.

“I would like six weeks and play some friendly matches to get the team sharp but at this point in time everyone just needs to come back on the field. But it does come with a cost.

“I watched the football when they came back in Europe and there were lots of muscle injuries that took place. I am sure it was because there was no proper simulating of the game before they played.”

White added that since the Bulls returned to controlled training a few weeks ago‚ players have shown excitement.

“I can’t wait for the go-ahead to get going again and I am sure that players are dying to get back on the rugby field. At the moment we are not supposed to do any contact stuff‚ but it’s like watching children allowed to go and play outside.

“You continually keep on stopping because the excitement is there and how do you stop running at each other? If you put two little kids outside‚ they will end up jumping on top of each other and all that sort of stuff.

“It’s an amazing time to go through this because we have never been through it before‚ and let’s not forget that lots of our players are still youngsters. They have been sitting indoors for five months and all of a sudden you have opened the floodgates to say they must go and play on the lawn outside.”

For the coaches‚ White said they are adjusting and sharing ideas of how to deal with the challenges of the new normal.

“I have been lucky enough to have coached around the world and I have picked up lots and lots of things that I would like to bring in‚” he said.

“I have said to the players that maybe we needed a reboot or a pause button. I have brought in some new ideas‚ we get clarity on what we want to do. I am also lucky that I have coaches who have been head coaches.”