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Ken Borland

Jake most pleased by Bulls’ adventurous rugby under pressure

Posted on May 23, 2022 by Ken

The Bulls had to come from a 13-0 deficit to beat Benetton Treviso 46-29 in their United Rugby Championship match at Loftus Versfeld at the weekend, and coach Jake White said he was most pleased by the adventurous rugby they played under pressure to do so.

The Bulls scored six tries to make it a bonus point win and only two of those tries were scored by forwards driving over from close range.

“What I was most pleased about was the brand of rugby we played, but we did not finish enough of our chances,” White said after the win. “There was a nice balance to our rugby, we used our forwards and our backs.

“You’re not going to win this competition by winning matches 13-9, you need to score tries, and how we counter-attacked and looked to play with ball-in-hand was most enjoyable to watch.

“Like when Kurt-Lee Arendse [fullback] runs from his own half to score, that’s where rugby is going. You have to be able to play like that, you need different arrows in your bow.

“We’re still not close to where we want to be, but it was good that we showed we can muscle up and use our maul as well. To be 13-0 down and still win 46-29 shows a lot of character,” White said.

The Bulls have been criticised in the past for their lack of creativity, some going as far as to liken them to the marvellous athletes but mechanical players of Russia under Communism, but those days are long gone.

The Bulls could, in fact, have scored a few more tries and the finishing, as well as the finer technical details of their breakdown work, are two areas White says need work.

“One can always be critical after a match and we were a bit inaccurate at the breakdown and three or four times our clearance kicks did not go far enough,” White said.

“We just needed to show more calm and not be so hasty. There were also three or four times we were on their tryline but we let the ball fall.

“The slow start was maybe because we haven’t played for two weeks, but we got in their 22 many times but did not finish. We’re not going to get 10 chances against one of the big sides.

“But Benetton were very tough physically and they did not go away, we had to work hard to break down their defence on the goal-line. We definitely have to improve,” White said.

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