VIDEO: White responds to comment from Connacht coach
REACTION: Jake White, the Bulls Director of Rugby, reiterated the intricate difficulties of travelling after visiting Connacht coach Pete Wilkin rued the fact that his side could not to come away with a losing bonus point.
White, while ecstatic about the win, commented on Wilkins’ comment and said he understands that mentality when playing away from home.
Wilkin told media at the post-match press conference he was disappointed that his side could not score a fourth try to at least get a losing bonus point on the night.
White was told what Wilkin had said and completely agreed with the Connacht coach.
“You need to win your home games and you need to win away games,” White said emphatically.
“Away games are like bonuses and home games are non negotiable. You look at the record, and I think there is about a 65 percent chance of winning your home games, across the board.
“Playing away from home, every bonus point you can get is like gold.
“And I think it is important to explain to everyone when I say travelling for four weeks. Wonderful, you stay in nice hotels, you fly internally with chartered planes. I don’t want anyone to think touring is not nice,” the coach said honestly.
“But you’ve got 30 players on tour, and you have five guys, like today Ruan Nortje can’t train this week, and two other guys have got HIA’s and two others have got niggles, then you are training with 22 guys on the field.
“Anyone knows you can’t train for four weeks with 22 guys and expect that you are going to get better over a month.
“So you can do shadow and you can’t do anything that is going to injure players and you can’t do with contested whatever, so you might have four forwards out. So you can’t even do proper scrums and line-outs.
“So that’s what I think when I say it’s tough to be away for four weeks, it’s not the fact that it’s nice and it’s your job, I just think from an organisations and coaching point of view, it’s very difficult to keep guys for four weeks, and when you’ve got niggling injuries, to make sure that the practices and the development of your group, especially early on.
“Because this is the time that you are putting the building blocks together for the backend of the competition,” White explained.
He also elaborated about the possible loss of captain Ruan Nortje left the field in the 45th minute due to injury. Up until that point, he was immense for the Bulls, scoring the Bulls’ third try with a simple finish after Zak Burger’s dummy broke the line.
“I am hoping maybe there’s a miracle and he’s fine, but if he’s not there, it’s a massive loss. It’s like having two guys – he runs the lineouts, his defensive capabilities, his workrate, he is incredible,” the coach enthused.
And obviously White had to refer to the return of some of their Springboks and the impact they had on the game.
“I was saying to the players before the game, every guy in the forward pack – except for Reinhardt Ludwig, who has captained the SA U20s – had played for South Africa. That’s incredible. It’s a great step for the Bulls.
“Having World Cup winners back and Springboks in your team is something I have been pushing since I got here. The Bulls need to have international players playing for South Africa, because it makes it so much better for the audience and the product.
“As you saw, you don’t just score 50 points against Connacht, I don’t know when last they conceded that many. So there’s a lot of confidence you are going to get out of that,” he said.
*It was confirmed that Kurt-Lee Arendse missed the match against Connacht due to a family bereavement.