VIDEO: Jake White's planning is 'spot on'
The Naysayers have constantly questioned Jake White’s one-squad wisdom, as the Bulls chase silverware on two fronts – the Currie Cup on the domestic scene and the United Rugby Championship in Europe.
However, Bulls Currie Cup coach Gert Smal believes the franchise’s Director of Rugby is busy proving his doubters wrong.
Having now booked their places in the URC and Currie Cup play-offs, White’s blueprint for success is beginning to look like a masterstroke.
The Bulls, fielding a young team with some URC fringe players, out-muscled the Lions’ URC team (43-37) to regain the top spot on the Currie Cup standings.
Only the Cheetahs, who are still unbeaten after nine games following a 44-15 win over the Sharks in Bloemfontein at the weekend, are the only team that can still overtake the Bulls in the race for the top spot.’
With only three rounds remaining, the defending-champion Bulls (42 points after 10 games) are leading the Cheetahs by a single point, but the Free Staters have a game in hand. They are followed by the Sharks in a distant third on 24 points from 10 games.
Griquas are in the fourth position on 21 points from nine games, while the Pumas are fifth on 20 points from the same number of games. Western Province is on 13 points, while the winless Lions complete the standings on five points after 10 games.
The next round of league matches is scheduled to take place in a fortnight, when the Bulls host the Pumas on Friday, May 27 in Pretoria; Griquas welcome the Cheetahs to Kimberley on Saturday, May 28 and the Lions entertain WP, also on Saturday, May 28, in Johannesburg.
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Before that, the Bulls travel to Swansea for their final league match in the United Rugby Championship, against Ospreys on Friday – hanging on to their slim hopes of a top-four finish and home ground advantage in the quarterfinals.
The Bulls have a bye in Round 13, before their top-of-the-table clash with the Cheetahs on June 11.
That encounter will overlap with the URC semifinals, which will mean the Bulls’ resources could be very thinly spread.
The Currie Cup coach said he has every confidence in the planning of Director of Rugby Jake White.
Smal spoke about taking it ‘game by game’ and making sure they are prepared for the opposition they face every week.
“Jake’s planning is spot-on,” Smal told @rugby365com.
And some members of the URC team could even feature against the Pumas, despite the trip to Swansea and back.
“They [the URC team] plays Friday, which means Sunday they are back here [in Pretoria] and then we can reassess.”