VIDEO: The 'turning point' for table-topping Bulls
REACTION: Director of Rugby and coach Jake White is hopeful that the Bulls are at the ‘turning point’ of their Super Rugby unlocked season.
The Bulls climbed to the top of the table after an emphatic 41-14 win over the Sharks in Pretoria on Saturday.
White’s side dominated proceedings and outscored their opponents by six tries to one in the match with heavy rain pouring down on the players.
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Bulls captain and man of the match No.8 Duane Vermeulen led the charge and his fellow forwards followed suit at Loftus.
They were brutal – winning the collisions and set pieces, creating opportunities for their backs and keeping the Sharks on the back foot for most of the game.
Apart from a few early scrum penalties against the Bulls, their pack grew in stature and gradually took control of the contest which laid the platform for an impressive victory.
The Bulls’ quality display was vastly different from their last two performance against the Griquas and Cheetahs, where they suffered a 17-19 defeat – missing a late conversion which would have seen them escape with a draw.
“What was wrong the last two weeks compared to this week is that we started to take our chances,” White told reporters during the virtual post-match conference.
“The last couple of weeks we probably had the same opportunities, but we never used them.
“The thing that has really impressed me the most, is how our bench comes on and makes this massive impact.
“You consider, three weeks in a row we’ve finished very strongly, conditioning-wise and the ability of our reserves to come on and make a significant change.
“This is also very good for us,”
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The Bulls will hope to build on this momentum when they host the Stormers next weekend.
The Stormers, along with Cheetahs, are the only teams unbeaten on the table.
While the win against the Sharks signals a new sense of confidence for the Bulls, White remains realistic and has warned his side of the challenge the Springbok-laden Cape side posed, especially when it comes their pack.
“There are going to be different questions asked of us next week. The Stormers are the number one side, they have the most Springboks and their scrum is very strong. We just need to make sure that we do our homework and play like we did [on Saturday],”
He added: “I hope it is a turning point for us.
“But as a coach I am realistic. We have to understand that we played so well against the Sharks in the first game back, but we struggled in the next two games.
“[Having said that] I hope this game will be a turning point for us and I hope everyone can see the signs that this team is busy growing,”
In terms of strategies to combat the Stormers pack, White explained: “We are not going to be able to dominate as much as we did with our forward pack.
“But will start that on Monday and we will have a chat and work strategies in which we think we can actually play our game,”
The Bulls are now one point ahead of the Cheetahs at the top of the standings. The Cheetahs’ Round Three match with the Lions was called off due to COVID-19 protocols.