Wanted: Experienced tighthead prop for 'vacancy' in Pretoria
The Bulls will find a way to be competitive – be that bringing in new personnel or upskilling the players they already have.
That, in a nutshell, that is the view of Bulls Director of Rugby Jake White, in The wake of his team’s loss to the Sharks at the weekend.
The Sharks’ experienced Test players made a massive impact in the win over the Bulls in Durban.
It was the Bok-laden Sharks pack that laid the foundation.
Monstered in the scrum, the visitors were on the back foot for most of the game and in the end, that was probably the difference.
White said he is looking into the issues at tighthead, especially in the wake of the departure of World Cup-winning Springbok prop Trevor Nyakane, who has signed with French club Racing 92 and followed the well-trodden path to Europe.
“We moved Lizo Gqoboka to tighthead,” he said of the 31-year-old Bok, who was yellow-carded in the 65th minute for repeated scrum infringements, adding: “He has to try it now.
“Robert Hunt was playing Varsity Cup a couple of months ago.
“There is no Jacques van Rooyen. There is no Trevor Nyakane. There is no Mornay Smith.
“It was inevitably a tough task for us,” he said of the dominance exerted by the powerful, Springbok-laden Sharks front row.
“It was always going to be a measure of where we are as a group and the things we need to get right, I am sure we will get right.”
He admitted there are issues in the scrum they need to fix.
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“There are a couple of personnel changes we will bring in,” White said, adding: “Obviously we will get more experienced tighthead props involved in the next couple of games.
“There’s a couple of outside backs we can still use.
“It is all part of a long season we are going to have to play.”
He said the issues they have are not things they can’t sort out.
The Bulls’ Director of Rugby, White, praised the Sharks for their performance, repeating his pre-match assertion that they are an ‘international’ team.
He added that they have a lot of “work-ons” from the loss in Durban.
However, he dismissed the suggestion that there are discipline issues in his team – despite conceding 15 penalties.
He suggested that while the referee and TMO “saw a lot of things”, they also missed some things.
“There will always be a bit of ‘spite’ in the game,” he said of two teams that have played each other repeatedly a crucial game – including a couple of Currie Cup finals – in the last 18 months.
“There referee and TMO has to see what they can pick up and it is all part of the game.”
He said he was “100 percent” happy with his team’s discipline.
“We got a yellow card for a prop struggling in the scrum,” White said.