Jake White on his first Currie Cup final: I still feel the pressure
White‚ the 2007 World Cup-winning Springbok coach‚ acknowledged that the Sharks boast more Currie Cup experience than his players‚ and said the Bulls must not allow that to intimidate them.
“I look at the Sharks team and they have players like Ox Nche‚ Henco Venter‚ Thomas du Toit‚ Lukhanyo AM‚ Aphelele Fassi‚ Curwin Bosch and two guys on the bench who have won this tournament before. And when you look at the Bulls‚ we haven’t won the Currie Cup as a group and some of the players have never played in the final of this tournament‚" White said.
“It is a bit of an experience thing but I really want to them to go out there and enjoy it. I want them to enjoy the experience of being in a Currie Cup final and the honour that comes with playing in it.
“And hopefully the privilege that comes with winning the Currie Cup will motivate them. They must just go out there and do what they have to do and embrace the pressure.”
White said he feels pressure because‚ like most of his players‚ victory will see him lift his first Currie Cup trophy of his career‚ which would be a significant milestone to him.
“As much as I have been around and I have been lucky enough to be in a few finals and in play-off games‚ it never takes away the pressure that comes with it. I think it’s fantastic to host the final in our first year‚" White said.
“The reality is that it is nice pressure - this kind of pressure is what you coach for and what players play for. So‚ I just think the guys are going to make mistakes because finals are like that‚ but we have done really well and we have to try to use the experience that we have.
“I have never coached in the Currie Cup - this is the first time I have had the privilege and honour to be involved in the final as well and I can tell you that I can feel the pressure. It will mean a lot to me to win the trophy.
“As I said it is one of the oldest trophies in the world and I have never coached in it but obviously I have great respect for it. That is not just for me but to everybody and that is the exciting thing. Sometimes having a group of players who haven’t won can be a good thing because of the desire of wanting to get it right.
“My message to the players is going to be for them to enjoy it because you have worked very hard to get to the final and we have shown that we can beat these sides. There is always pressure but they must enjoy the experience.
"I want them to go out there and embrace the situation and believe the work we have done over the year is going to be good enough to carry them.”