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VIDEO: Bulls the enigma of URC

The Bulls are the biggest enigma of the United Rugby Championship – the best attack, statistically, but one of the worst defences.


Director of Rugby Jake White is insouciant about what most pundits regard as a major issue.

The Bulls sit on top of the URC stats for attack – the most points scored (557), second-most tries (72), second for offloads (155), fourth for metres gained (6382), fifth for defenders beaten (297) and fourth for clean breaks (125).

That’s an average of 33 points per match and just over four tries a game.

Compare this with their defence.

The Bulls are 11th on the defence table – only 13th in terms of tackles made (2183), a tackle success rate of only 86 percent (12th place), eighth for tackles missed (289) and only ninth for turnovers won (103).

Despite all this, the Bulls are second in the standings – defending champions Munster setting the pace (first with 63 points), followed by the Bulls ((61), Leinster (60) and Glasgow Warriors (60).


If the Bulls can beat the Sharks in Durban – the final round on June 1 – they will finish first or second.

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Bulls attack versus defence

The Bulls boss, White, said he is happy they got themselves into this favourable position – despite those lapses that cost them dearly this season.

Asked about the team’s leaky defence – having conceded five tries in a 56-35 win over Benetton last week and four in a 40-34 win over Glasgow Warriors the previous round.

“I don’t think it is a workrate thing or a system thing,” White said.


“Sometimes we assist the opposition get into scoring positions.

“Maybe it is because we got to 30 points up,” he said of the 31-7 lead they had on the half-hour mark against Benetton last week.

While some aspects of their game still need to be worked on, White is adamant it is not major flaws.

“Maybe we need to bring something into our training where we can get the players to be conscious of what is required in certain situations,” he added.

“That is why it is called coaching.

“You can’t just say something and expect next week everything falls into place.

“That Benetton team – 24 of them play for Italy.

“That means 24 of those players face off against the All Blacks, Springboks, England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland.

“That is the kind of grounding and school fees they pay every season.

“On the flip side, there are not many teams that score 50 points against Italy.

“It means we are doing something very, very well.

“Some countries have not run 50 points up against that ground of players either.”

(WATCH a Bulls Director of Rugby Jake White addresses the enigma that his team has become – the vast contrasts between attack and defence….)

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White admitted he used to be a ‘die-hard’ defensive coach.

However, he has changed his view on the subject.

“You need to defend well, as defence wins championships,” the Bulls boss said.

“You still have to defend.

“The one criterion that is constant in all competitions, is the team that scores the most points is always near the top [of the standings].

“You look at the glory days of the Blues, Brumbies, Toulouse or Crusaders – those teams scored plenty of points each weekend.

“That makes it difficult for the opposition.

“If we score 35 or 50, the opposition has to score 51 to beat us.

“That is how you create pressure for the opposition.

“I still want to be tougher on the players about not allowing teams to score easily against us.”


* Picture credit: @BlueBullsRugby

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