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VIDEO: 'Stormers have our number'

INTERVIEW: The Bulls have never beaten the Stormers in the United Rugby Championship – a well-documented statistic that gets plenty of airtime ahead of every North-South derby.

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It was no different as the Bulls continued their build-up to the Round 11 URC encounter with the Stormers at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

Bulls Director of Rugby Jake White – who has expressed his exasperation for the media’s harping on the matter – gladly embraced the ‘underdog’ tag ahead of the big game in Pretoria.

He was again asked about the Stormers URC winning streak – seven from seven, with the Bulls’ last win against their arch-rivals a 31-27 squeaker in the Rainbow Cup at Loftus in April 2021.

Even though the Stormers’ biggest winning margin was 10 points (37-27 in Cape Town in December 22), they always find a way to win – including a 26-20 victory in their last face-off, in December in Cape Town.

(WATCH as Bulls Director of Rugby Jake White speaks about his team’s seven-match losing streak against the Stormers….)

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“They have had our number in this [URC] competition,” White told a media scrum at Loftus on Wednesday.

He was quick to point out that the Stormers seem to have the same ‘superiority’ over all the South African teams – having not lost in a local derby since December 2021.

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“They are the form team since the inception of this [URC] competition.

Having reached both finals since SA teams moved to Northern Hemisphere competitions – beating the Bulls in the inaugural Final in 2022 and losing to Munster in the 2023 Final, hosting both.

“What they do, they do very well,” the former World Cup-winning Springbok coach said, adding: “They have a very settled coaching staff that have been together for almost 10 years, through the junior ranks [till now].

“They have had a lot more time together – to plan things and do things well.”

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He said while his team is still ‘growing’, they are getting better.

“I am much happier where we are now, in year three to where we were in year one.”

The astute Bulls boss said his team has never really played well against the Stormers.

While the Stormers smother the opposition with their well-drilled defence, the Bulls have had some good results against other big teams.

“We played Saracens here [at Loftus] and played well [a 27-16 win], we played Bordeaux-Begles here and played well (46-40 win].”

He also pointed to a stand-out performance against Leinster, even though it was an Academy team – in which the Bulls put 60 points past the Irish province.

“The one side we haven’t clicked against is the Stormers,” White said, adding: “The reasons for that is that they do, what they do, very well.

“We have to find a way in which we can nullify the things they do well.”

White again dismissed the talk of ‘breaking the streak’, saying pointing out that the Stormers have played in more URC finals than Irish powerhouse Leinster – which he described as the “most complete team” in the tournament.

“You have to give the Stormers credit for what they have achieved.

“I just want us to grow as a group – get better and better.

“We are on that road, if you look at where we were three years ago and where we are now.”

@king365ed
@rugby365com

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