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Bulls' six-two split worked in their favour

REACTION: The Bulls’ six-two split on the bench against the Lions at Ellis Park in the United Rugby Championship over the weekend may have helped the Bulls after flank Elrigh Louw got a knock on his AC joint early in the game.

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Louw was replaced in the 30th minute by Mpilo Gumede.

Bulls’ Director of Rugby Jake White revealed having two loose forwards on the bench, was fortunate.

“Elrigh got a bit of a bang on his AC, and again we’ve got big weeks coming up and we were just fortunate we had two loose forwards on the bench,” White told the media at the post-match press conference on Saturday.

“So, to bring Mpilo [Gumede] on quickly didn’t change much, because if you have two loose forwards it’s no use keeping one guy on at the expense of getting even more injured.

“So the call was quite simply, as soon as he said he felt a little bit sore, we just backed Mpilo and he played well.

“That [six-two split on the bench] definitely worked in our favour, having the bench we did and the timing of how much game time they got,” a relieved White explained.

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“We have two weeks off and you need your bench to have significant game-time,” he further stated.

The two returning Springboks, Canan Moodie and Kurt-Lee Arendse, had a relatively quiet day with not much action going their way bar the try Moodie scored.

But White was not perturbed, indicating it was part of the game plan.

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“Interesting, that is the one thing I learnt as a coach, when you bring players back, it takes a while for them to find their feet.

“And that’s why I spoke about the substitutions because there’s no use you put a guy on with six minutes and then you expect him to play against the Stormers when he hasn’t played for two weeks and he has only played six minutes.

“So. they didn’t get the ball as much as they would’ve liked. I think part of our tactic this week – we didn’t really want the Lions to have a crack from their own half, which is not what they are doing this season.

“They are not playing any rugby in their own half and they do it successfully, they do it well.

“So it was a balance between we wanted to have a go and to use those guys, but sometimes you’ve just got to change the way you play when we get into these knock-out games.

“They didn’t touch it, but when we play again, they might be called on to do a little bit more,” he concluded.

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