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'Bulls youngsters will improve with time'

White confident URC will herald international success

Athenkosi Tsotsi Sports Reporter
Bulls coach Jake White says his team is far from being a finished product but he is happy with the progress.
Bulls coach Jake White says his team is far from being a finished product but he is happy with the progress.
Image: Gordon Arons/Gallo Images

Bulls director of rugby Jake White has faith his young crop of players will deliver in the United Rugby Championship and other European competitions soon. 

The Pretoria outfit concluded the regular URC season with a nailbiting  38-31 victory over Ospreys in Swansea that saw them finish in fourth place on the overall standings. 

This means they have secured a home quarterfinal and will take on a Springbok-heavy Sharks team on June 4 at Loftus Versfeld.

White was roped in by the Bulls management because of his knowledge of the northern hemisphere competitions. Since joining the franchise and overseeing the rugby affairs, he has won The Super Rugby Unlocked, Rainbow Cup and two Currie Cups. 

Next for White is trying to conquer the multinational URC. He’s had the luxury of buying top-class players but recently he’s opted to select exciting youngsters like Canan Moodie, Elrigh Louw and Harold Vorster.

White believes the young crop of players will develop into world-class talent in the URC or other competitions with playing pressure games.

“It’s been two years of working with these players, I’m positive (game management) will come with time and experience. The longer we keep these players in our system, the better,” said White. 

“I’m comfortable knowing a lot of guys have had game time and put their hands up. Putting youngsters on the field and getting them to learn is not only important for this year but the next couple of years as well. 

“We’re going to have to play Munster away or Toulouse in the European Cup, it’s not going to get any easier. The only way they’re going to learn is if they have pressure. If you don’t put them on, you don’t give them a chance to feel what it’s like to be under pressure. 

“The only way I'm going to get it right is if I expose them to the sort of pressure, understanding, tempo and ruthlessness of the teams we’re going to be playing against,” said the former Rugby World Cup-winning Springbok coach. 

Meanwhile, the Stormers finished second in the URC, winning the SA Shield trophy in the process. They also get a home quarterfinal, against Edinburgh at the Cape Town Stadium on June 4.

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