‘Proud’ Jake on Bulls’ big playoff boost

Jake White said the Vodacom Bulls have a “massive” chance to win the Vodacom URC after securing a maiden home quarter-final with Saturday’s victory over the Sharks.

White’s men won 26-14 in Durban that clinched them the SA Shield for the first time and second spot on the overall standings heading into the playoffs of the URC.

Replacement hooker Akker van der Merwe scored a brace of tries in the bonus-point win for the Bulls, and the Pretoria outfit will host Benetton in the final eight next Saturday and a possible semi-final at Loftus Versfeld.

Speaking in a post-match conference from Kings Park on Saturday, White told reporters: “I cannot stress this enough, we’ve played really well and again, four tries, and even though we made so many mistakes.

RECAP: Bulls crowned SA Shield champions

“I’m very happy that we could score from mauls, but we also need to score when the pressure is on, which in the playoffs is probably going to be one of the areas which is important.

“People talk of a home semi but that means we still have to win a home quarter-final. The final in the first year [of the URC] we lost, the second year we caught the DHL Stormers as the champions in the quarter-finals and we lost.

The Vodacom @BlueBullsRugby finally have their hands on the South African Shield @Vodacom #URC pic.twitter.com/r0J0B0sP5H

— Vodacom United Rugby Championship (URC) (@URCOfficial_RSA) June 1, 2024

“This is an example of all the lessons we’ve learnt in the two seasons. We get a home quarter … [That’s] already a massive difference in the group, and all the coaches and the team want us to have a really good chance to win this competition.

“I couldn’t have asked for more than what we got today. I laid it out to the players: are we going to just win the game, and never know whether we could’ve gone for [a bonus-point win], or are we going to go for it? And I’m really proud.

“We got the four tries, and for the group it’s going to be massive for our confidence.”

MORE: Bulls host Benetton, Stormers hit the road

White, though, will be sweating the availability of No 8 Cameron Hanekom, openside flanker Marco van Staden and right winger Canan Moodie, who were all injured in the coastal derby triumph.

“We are guys who are a bit sore and I think a guy like Marco will probably be a concern. The others should be OK, they seem as though it was a bump and a bruise,” the Bulls director of rugby said.

“But we’ve changed our squad and if it means Sergeal [Petersen] has to come in, if it means Seb [de Klerk] has to start, and we’ve got Marcell [Coetzee] back. We’ve also used Mpilo Gumede … luckily enough those guys have been a part of the group.

“I’ll have to wait until Monday to see who’s available and who’s not available but I’m not too concerned.

“Obviously I’d like the best players but we’ve rotated enough and given guys chances that if I have to call on someone who comes in for an injured player, I’m fully confident that we’ve prepared he’ll just slot in.”

Photo: Steve Haag Sports/Gallo Images

The post ‘Proud’ Jake on Bulls’ big playoff boost appeared first on SA Rugby magazine.

Jake White said the Bulls have a “massive” chance to win the @Vodacom #URC after securing a maiden home quarter-final with Saturday’s victory over the Sharks.
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