'I want Malcolm Marx': Jake White's wish list
REACTION: The only way South African teams will be a major threat in the Champions Cup and United Rugby Championship, is when the country’s top talent return to the local franchises.
Those were the sentiments of Bulls Director of Rugby Jake White following his team’s 14-44 loss to Exeter Chiefs in the Champions Cup Round two match on Saturday.
Captain by Morne Steyn, the Bulls with Bismark du Plessis and a host of youngsters struggled against the Premiership side Exeter Chiefs side.
The men from Pretoria were largely overpowered conceding six tries.
However, they managed to demonstrate their attacking quality through scores from Stravino Jacobs and Chris B. Smith.
White opted to travel to England with what could be described as ‘B’ team – allowing several first-choice players including the likes of Springboks Kurt-Lee Arendse, Canan Moodie and Marco van Staden to rest for the challenging URC fixtures against the Stormers this Friday on December 23.
#REPORT: @ExeterChiefs make a big statement with big win over @BlueBullsRugby #rugby #news #Sports https://t.co/IhrIFk5UOQ
— rugby365.com (@rugby365com) December 17, 2022
Speaking to reporters the Bulls Director admitted there is very little wiggle room between the competitions, therefore it is challenging to prioritise both tournaments with the lack of high-quality players.
“What I really want; I want Jacques Vermeulen, Jannes Kirsten, Hanro Liebenberg to come back to SA, I want Malcolm Marx to come back to SA, and then I’ll prioritise both competitions,” White told reporters.
“The youngsters I’ve got now are doing phenomenally well, but I need to blend them with a couple of guys between the ages of 25 and 30.
“Long term, in my next five years’ stint, I want to get some of these older guys back, target both competitions, blood these youngsters so they can play with some really strong, senior and hardened professionals.
“Our tighthead prop, 22 years old, two locks 22 and 20, Cameron Hanekom 20 – at one stage, our forward pack was under 23, 22 even, as an average.
“I’m obviously disappointed but we’ll get it right, I’m 100 percent certain I’ll get it right.”
The coach admitted the opposition’s personnel were just too superior for his young charges.
However, believes his team will do much better when to Pretoria on January 14.
“Just looking at their [Exeter Chiefs’s] team sheet, you’ve got [Scotland internationals] Jonny Gray and Stuart Hogg, [Dafydd] Jenkins from Wales, two other guys from Scotland, [Rory] O’Loughlin from Ireland, Scott Sio from Australia, an Argentinian and Tongan on the bench, and a South African on bench, so that’s what you’re playing against,” White said.
“We had our chances and didn’t take them, too many mistakes and 10 penalties in the first half that gave them entries into our 22, and they were phenomenal.
“They’re probably the best team we’ve ever played against, and the best team we’ve ever analysed in terms of their hit rate when they get into your 22.
“They’re a very good team and they’ll be up there at the end of this competition, and the learnings [for us] you can’t give away penalties in your 22 and can’t give away quick ball all the time.”
He added: “Exeter will be there at the end of the competition, and there were some guys who didn’t play that will return.
“Hopefully we will be able to do better against them at Loftus Versfeld and get a win, and that will put our campaign back on track.”