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VIDEO: Jake's candid call on his team's status

Bulls Director of Rugby Jake White is adamant his team is #NOT where they want to be, despite a drought-breaking demolition of the Stormers in their United Rugby Championship encounter in Pretoria at the weekend.

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The Bulls moved into second place on the tournament standings and top of the South African Shield table with a 40-22 win at a sold-out Loftus Versfeld.

However, White said his team has ‘won nothing yet’ and there is a long and treacherous road ahead to the end of the season.

He said his job now is to get the players to understand that they must remain humble.

URC SA Shield after five rounds

“Humility is something we are big on,” the Bulls boss said, adding: “We haven’t won anything.

“We won a game [against the Stormers], but there is still a long way to go.”

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The positive news is that Springbok Elrich Louw and fellow loose forward Cameron Hanekom, who sat out the past weekend’s win over the Stormers with injuries, could return for the Bulls’ trip to Europe and back-to-back URC encounters with the Dragons (March 23) and at top-of-the-table face-off with Irish giants Leinster (six days later).

Then follows a fortnight of tricky European Cup encounters – hosting Lyon Olympique (a team that beat them in their last two head-to-head encounters) and a potential quarterfinal.

Then it is back to the URC arena – Munster and Ospreys in Pretoria – before a Champions Cup semifinal away (should they progress that far), another fortnight of the URC (Glasgow and Benetton at Loftus), the Euro Cup Final (if they are still in it, a #BIG if) and a URC trip to Durban to face the Sharks.

(WATCH as Bulls Director of Rugby Jake White makes a blunt declaration about his team’s progress….)

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“We have Dragons first, but we then get to play one of the top teams and if we stay second it will be No.1 against No.2 [in the URC] in Dublin on March 29,” the Bulls coach said.

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“It will be a great opportunity for us to show if we are up to it,” he said about playing one of Europe’s powerhouses.

“We know we have our destiny in our own hands now.

“Two seasons now the Stormers were the team on top and we had to chase them.

“Now all we have to do is keep playing well and making sure people have to catch us.”

White said his team still needs “more depth” to dominate the major European competitions.

He said reports that World Cup winner Trevor Nyakane could be returning to the Bulls is “exactly what he wants to hear”.

Nyakane, who joined Racing 92 from the Bulls in 2021, has been linked with a return to Loftus Versfeld.

Fellow World Cup-winning Springbok Andre Esterhuizen has been linked with a return to the Sharks after confirmation that he will leave Harlequins at the end of the current European season.

“I have been beating that drum since I got my Bulls cap on,” he said of his well-documented stance that top Springboks need to be lured back to South Africa.

“We are getting there, but I would like to see in the next few years that more and more seasoned professionals and internationals come back and play in our country.”

@king365ed
@rugby365com

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