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Ken Borland

Jake quick to point out inexperience of Bulls & impressed they managed to pull win out of the fire 0

Posted on November 16, 2022 by Ken

Bulls coach Jake White was quick to point out the relative inexperience of his side compared to Edinburgh and how impressed he was that they managed to pull a 33-31 victory out of the fire in their United Rugby Championship match at Loftus Versfeld, while acknowledging that they are still not where they want to be in terms of performance.

Edinburgh, disrupted by the loss of flyhalf Blair Kinghorn due to a stomach bug on the day of the game, and then his replacement Jaco van der Walt after 15 minutes, as well as substitute back Chris Dean injuring himself in the warm-up, made an error-strewn start to the game that included their captain Grant Gilchrist being yellow-carded.

The Bulls capitalised superbly and raced into a 15-0 lead, but Edinburgh were quick to show their quality and strike back once they had settled. They trailed by just one point at halftime and then led 31-30 going into the last 10 minutes.

Morne Steyn would be the hero for the Bulls with a tricky 78th-minute penalty, although Edinburgh fullback Henry Immelman missed a long-range effort after the final hooter.

“The margins are very small in this competition and that last kick was worth three points on the log,” a relieved White said. “You can’t underestimate how tough Edinburgh are.

“We need to be mindful that in their pack, they have players with more Test caps than we have URC caps. We have one of the youngest teams in the URC.

“We got ourselves 15-0 up, scoring relatively easily, and they’re only human, they maybe thought it would just happen on its own. But you’ve got to work very hard.

“We are far from where we need to be, but to show that composure, to not just accept that maybe it wasn’t our day, that’s a massive confidence boost. I’m very glad we managed to do enough to win,” White said.

The Bulls car ran beautifully smoothly at times, but at other times it spluttered along, leading to a dingdong match that was like a rush-hour taxi ride through central Joburg.

“At times we were outstanding, we would defend for three or four sets and then suddenly miss a tackle,” White admitted. “Or we would keep ball for phase-after-phase, and then give a poor pass or get our timing wrong.

“But we are a young team and we mustn’t get ahead of ourselves. It will do them good to learn and experience this pressure,” White said.

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