Sun 23 Jan 2022 | 09:42

VIDEO: Bulls putting a premium on Currie Cup

VIDEO: Bulls putting a premium on Currie Cup
Sun 23 Jan 2022 | 09:42
VIDEO: Bulls putting a premium on Currie Cup
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The teams in the Currie Cup has been put on notice. The Bulls are determined to win it for a third successive time – a rare feat in any competition.

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Only three teams have won South Africa’s premier domestic competition back-to-back, three times or more.

These multiple winners are Western Province (five times between 1892 and 1898, three times between 1904and 1908, three times between 1925 and 1929, three times between 1957 and 1966, five times between 1982 and 1986), Northern Transvaal (three times between 1973 and 1975, five times between 1977 and 1981, including sharing it with WP in 1979, three times between 1987 and 1989, including sharing it with WP in 1989, three times between 2002 and 2004 as the Blue Bulls) and the Free State (also Cheetahs, three times between 2005 and 2007, including sharing it with the Bulls in 2006).

The Bulls have beaten the Sharks in the last two Currie Cup Finals – 2020/21 and 2021.

White has made it clear for the Bulls there is a premium on winning the 2022 edition of the Currie Cup.

His comments come in the wake of two big north-south derbies – the Bulls demolishing Western Province (40-21) in a midweek Currie Cup match and then losing (26-30) to the Stormers in a United Rugby Championship encounter at the weekend.

White was asked about the decision to field a strong team in the midweek, Currie Cup, match – a side that featured seasoned and Springbok players like Lionel Mapoe, Morne Steyn, Cyle Brink, Marcell Coetzee (as captain) and Bismarck du Plessis.

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After that easy win in Cape Town, the Bulls were fancied to also beat the Stormers in the URC match in Pretoria.

However, White suffered first loss at Loftus since he took over as Director of Rugby in 2020 – a run of 24 consecutive home wins.

“We are going say the Currie Cup is one of our [most] prestigious competitions – which it is – and we have won it twice,” White told a post-match media briefing.

“Not many teams get to win it three times in a row.

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“We are going hard to win the Currie Cup.”

He was quick to add that they are not dismissing the URC.

“What is important to understand is that our job is to develop this team over the next couple of years,” the 2007 World Cup-winning former Springbok coach said.

“It is not just about Saturday.

“Sure, it is tough to lose,” he said of the heartbreaking 26-30 reverse against a fire-up Stormers team.

“For me, as Director of Rugby and a coach, looking at this group of players – we want to grow this group of players in the next couple of years.

“If they can get exposure to the URC and Currie Cup, as well get exposure to playing alongside each other – Marcel Coetzee playing alongside [Reinhard] Ludwig, a hooker like Bismarck du Plessis scrumming alongside Simphiwe [Matanzima] and Sebastian Lombard – that is part of the development process we are looking at.”

(Article continued below video …)

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White made it clear he is NOT underestimating or devaluing any competition.

“For us, it is about growing this squad of players.

“Elrich Louw, we talk about him often. He is a young player,”he said of the 22-year-old loose forward.

“His body hasn’t even filled out.

“In a couple of years’ time, him, [lock] Ruan [Nortje, 23], Janko Swanepoel [lock, 22], [prop] Mornay Smith [23] and Grobbies [hooker and Springbok squad member Johan Grobbelaar, 24] when their bodies fill out, they become a little bit more mature.

“Then, hopefully, we will have the perfect team.

“Summing up, [the] Currie Cup is very important to us.

“I would like it to always be like that.

“There is an old school tradition that we must never, ever make the Currie Cup just a watered-down competition.

“There is too much history and too many players have given up a lot to win that trophy.

“We need to make sure we keep it like that, especially, if we can, at the Bulls.”

@king365ed
@rugby365com

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