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Ken Borland

Jake resigned to the inevitable after Bulls loss at famous fortress written in the stars

Posted on February 17, 2022 by Ken

It may have just been written in the stars or it may have been because the Bulls were forced to use the away changeroom at Loftus Versfeld, but Jake White was almost resigned to the inevitability after he suffered his first defeat as the home coach at the famous fortress at the weekend as they were beaten 30-26 by the Stormers in their United Rugby Championship derby.

The Bulls started poorly, trailing 0-18 after half-an-hour, but then stormed into a 26-18 lead with 12 minutes remaining. Only to let the game slip as the Stormers scored two brilliant late tries.

“They are refurbishing our changeroom so we had to use the away changeroom, and the team in that room doesn’t usually win here,” White quipped after the defeat. “But it’s my first loss at Loftus Versfeld and it’s not great.

“I was hoping the crowd would be a catalyst, they were making such a noise that we could hear them on the field. It’s disappointing we did not do them justice.

“But to sum the game up – we found a way to lose. We didn’t show enough composure, which previously we’ve been really good at. After the fightback and then taking the lead, we conceded silly penalties which was disappointing.

“Usually we find ways to win, we squeeze and squeeze and generally then put the opposition away. But today there were just lapses of concentration. We were never going to win every game at Loftus Versfeld,” White said with more seriousness.

With the Bulls, considered the dominant force in South African rugby after winning successive Currie Cups and the Rainbow Cup, languishing second-from-bottom on the URC log, perhaps that is why their players performed with an air of frantic desperation at times. The Stormers were presented with plenty of turnover opportunities and were in clinical mood, taking their chances with aplomb.

“Despite losing our tighthead prop [Mornay Smith] to his first carry of the game and Deon Fourie being very good on the ground, we still created opportunities to get around them and scored four tries.

“But then we also knocked-on a metre from their line or gave away penalties there. We gave them a couple of 22-entries and they scored twice. We were a bit hasty at times when we had them on the ropes.

“But after being 18-0 down, to score 26 points from there shows we’ve got to have something as a team. I’m very proud of the comeback and we must just find a way to learn from the defeat.

“So we will dust ourselves off and go back to work on Monday. The only way to get things right is to work hard. Credit to the Stormers for sticking to it for 80 minutes and scoring a couple of long-range tries,” White said.

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