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Jake White's reaction to Bulls home loss in front of URC record crowd

By Rugby365
:Vodacom Bulls Director of Rugby Jake White during the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool A match between Exeter Chiefs and Vodacom Bulls at Sandy Park on December 17, 2022 in Exeter, England. (Photo by Bob Bradford - CameraSport via Getty Images)

Bulls Director of Rugby Jake White refused to make any excuses following his team’s 19-23 defeat to the Stormers at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.


The Bulls dominated the opening exchanges of the North-South derby which was attended by a Southern Hemisphere URC record crowd of 41 205.

They enjoyed much of the possession and territory and took a 12-3 lead after just 30 minutes of play thanks to the boot of Chris Smith.

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But the hosts lost their intensity and allowed the Stormers into the match, who eventually scored two tries to retain their stranglehold in the fierce rivalry.

“It is really not nice.” White said, adding: “We dominated the possession and territory, and we trailing 12-13 at the break.

“But we will get better, and I don’t have any doubt that as players and coach, we will get it right.

“I think there is not a player in the team who didn’t give it his all and that is all you can ask for as a coach.”


The North-South derby was not short of any drama and per usual accompanied by a couple of contention officiating decisions.

The first one that might have Bulls fans raise a few eyebrows is the try by Marcel Theunissen.

Stormers scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies showed great vision to find Theunissen unmarked with a wide pass on the left for the Stormers No.8 to go over untouched from 22 metres out.



Both passes of Jantjies in the build-up looked questionable, but referee Marius van der Westhuizen and TMO deemed there was no evidence to overrule the on-field decision and the try was awarded.

Bulls supporters also have a right to feel aggrieved about the David Kriel yellow card for the deliberate knockdown.

However, the Bulls boss opted to not ‘moan’ about referee calls and instead focused on his team’s missed chances.

“The forward pass [the TMO] was looking at was probably the wrong one, it probably should’ve been the one going inside not outside,” the Bulls Director of Rugby said.

“I also don’t think [Kriel] knocked it down, but that’s my view, it happens. Those are the margins. If he catches that, we score under poles.

“But that is how strict they are about it now, it was almost as if he was guilty before he even caught the ball, but I’m not going to moan about the referee or give you guys a front headline news story ‘Jake White says referees’. It is what it is.

“Even with 14 men, even with a yellow card, maybe we should’ve scored there, we still had two chances in the last two minutes of the game to finish it off and we didn’t.”

On the decision-making in the closing stages, which saw the Bulls waste a couple of good scoring opportunities, White explained his team – especially the captain Ruan Nortje – will get those calls ‘right’ as the season progresses.

“I’m not going to nail anybody because I’ve seen this movie before, we lost fair and square,” White said.

“We had a chance at the end and I think we should’ve adapted better, and we have to learn those things as we go deeper in this competition.”

White further explained: “My captain [Ruan Nortje] will get it right. He’s going through a tough time now with calls, and people double-guessing whether or not he’s making the right calls.

“I’ve been through this with [former Springbok captain] John Smit, I’ve been through this with young captains – he’ll learn, he’ll get better.

“He’s not happy and has probably dropped his head and is down on himself, but he knows how important his role is. But we’ll help him through this time.”

The Bulls are now sixth on the log and 13 points behind the Stormers in the South African Conference.


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