VIDEO: Resolute Bulls will find a way
The Bulls may only have one win from five starts in the United Rugby Championship, but Director of Rugby Jake White is adamant they can right the listing ship.
White, speaking in the wake of his team’s 16-30 loss to the Sharks this past weekend, said he is far from reaching for the panic button.
He said they lost against the “most experienced” team in South Africa – pointing to the return of a host of Test players like Lukhanyo Am, Makazole Mapimpi, Siyamthanda Kolisi, and Mbongeni Mbonambi as the main contributing factor for the win.
They also had Springboks like Sibusiso Nkosi and Thomas du Toit in their starting XV.
“We have been plodding along as a group and we are happy with how we have developed,” the Bulls boss said, adding: “There’s still lots of work to do.”
He added they will look at ways to “strengthen their squad”.
“The reality is, we have to find ways in which we can be competitive,” he said, adding: “Whether that is brining in personnel or upskilling the ones we have.”
He said they are eagerly awaiting the return match at Loftus Versfeld – a match currently scheduled for February.
“We haven’t played a home game yet, we have played five away games.
“It has been a tough start for us as a group.”
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Just how the Bulls cope with the challenges thrown at them is epitomized in the late withdrawal of star outside back Kurt-Lee Arendse last Friday.
Arendse, named to start at fullback, had to pull after he had a COVID-19 close contact.
It saw David Kriel move from outside centre to fullback, Cornal Hendricks shift to No.13 and Harold Vorster comes in at inside centre.
White described the disruption as “massive, massive, massive.”
“I just wonder how many situations we would’ve finished had he been on the field, just because of his unbelievable ability to finish off those situations,” the Director of Rugby said.
He added that the ‘breakthrough’ will come at some stage.
“We will get to pick another combination and have a look at it,” he told a virtual post-match media briefing.
“We haven’t been successful to get certain combinations on the field, but we will get them right.
“As I said, I am very positive about the fact it is a long year,” he said of the URC overlapping with the Currie Cup and teams then going into another URC campaign in the second half of 2022, which will also overlap with the 2023 Currie Cup.
“With this group of players, we are going to be together for a while now.
“We have to find ways in which we grow and develop over the next couple of years – not just in the short term.”
He said the loss to the Sharks was “not a do-or-die situation”.
“The reality is it’s an away game against a Springbok-laden Test side.
“It was always going to be a measure of where we are as a group and the things we need to get right.
“I’m sure as a coaching staff, we’ll get right.”