‘We have our backs against the wall,’ admits Bulls coach Jake White

Mahlatse Mphahlele Sports reporter
Phepsi Buthelezi of the Sharks in the United Rugby Championship match against the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on February 12 2022.
Phepsi Buthelezi of the Sharks in the United Rugby Championship match against the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on February 12 2022.
Image: Lee Warren/Gallo Images

Bulls coach Jake White has admitted that his side's 29-22 defeat to the Sharks in an exciting United Rugby Championship (URC) clash at Loftus on Saturday has put the Pretoria team in a difficult position.

The result left the Bulls in the bottom half of the table and they face a mountain to climb to qualify for the knockout stages as the tournament enters the business end in the coming weeks.

After featuring in four rounds of local derbies, SA teams travel to Europe in the coming few weeks and first on the agenda for the Bulls will be bottom of the log Zebre in Parma on February 26.

“This result puts us in a really difficult position in this competition,” he admitted.

“I have coached long enough to know that you have to win your home games and we have now lost two at home. We now have our backs against the wall because there are more teams trying to get into the playoffs and that is the challenge that we have now.

“We must find the other way. Sometimes we have to find the high road and next week we are probably going to have to go the low road. Since I have been here at the Bulls, we have been top of the log in Super Rugby, Currie Cup, Rainbow Cup.

“This is the first time that this group is not top of the log and there other challenges that sporting teams are faced with. In terms of where we are in the competition, it is not a good place to be but it is another way of learning as a group.”

During the defeat to the Sharks, the Bulls lost veteran Morné Steyn inside ten minutes but White was happy with the way his players reacted while playing with a man down.

“When you lose it is not nice and you don’t feel good about it but there is a lot to be positive about from the game. It is not easy to lose your flyhalf with 65 minutes left in the game and still score four tries against a team that has about eight to nine incumbent Springboks.

“They are probably the best team that is available in SA ... The result is not what we wanted but you can’t question the commitment and the character.

“The reality is that we were all over them but the game is about playing 80 minutes and 15 guys on the field and we probably let ourselves down by not doing that.

“We didn’t take our chances in their 22, we got so many chances on their try line, we got mauls that they stopped, we got breakdowns that they turned the ball over or they put under pressure.”


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