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Ken Borland

Jake proud of the way Bulls stuck together like a family to beat Benetton

Posted on January 11, 2023 by Ken

The scoreboard shows a 44-22 triumph for the Bulls over Benetton in Treviso, but they had to work extremely hard for the win, with coach Jake White saying how proud he was of the way they stuck together like a family to end their two-match losing streak overseas.

The Bulls were fortunate to only be 9-3 down at halftime, and even though they were much-improved after the break, Benetton were still leading 22-20 on the hour mark. It was a titanic tussle, but the Bulls finished superbly with three tries in the last 10 minutes to not only snatch a hard-fought win, but also claim an unlikely bonus point.

“It’s a massive relief and I’m really proud of the players for the way they stuck together and got the reward for the work they put in at training,” White said. “And it’s wonderful that it’s a bonus point win, I’m really happy.

“The second half was fantastic, after the first half when we did not finish our chances and gave them a couple of soft penalties through silly mistakes. I had a feeling that we would finish well because Benetton looked dead on their feet.

“The talk at halftime was that we’ve got them on the ropes, every time we got down their end, we could feel the ascendancy. We just had to keep going and bashing at the wall, and it did eventually break.

“From a game that could have gone either way, we won with forty points. Not many teams come here and win, so a bonus point win is really good,” White said.

The most outstanding area of the Bulls game was at the breakdown and, were it not for numerous steals in the first half, Benetton would surely have been much further ahead and the mountain to climb away from home would have been too much for the visitors.

“Having Bismarck du Plessis, Marco van Staden and Marcell Coetzee together really helps at the breakdown, they are masters of understanding when to go in and what to do,” White said.

“I was very pleased with the defensive breakdown and we were also able to get quick ball, unlike the last two weeks. When we get go-forward ball, we play so much better.

“It’s a credit to the captain [the man of the match Coetzee] and the belief in the team. Sometimes these sort of wins can be a catalyst to jumpstart the season, turn it around.

“Coming off two losses in a row, 9-3 down away from home, how much more character can the team show? And it gets rid of what happened here last year in the Rainbow Cup final,” a delighted White said.

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