'Outstanding - Jake White takes sarcastic swipe at referee Andrew Brace
Despite saying some apparently kind words about Andrew Brace, Bulls director of rugby Jake White didn’t hide his frustration with the refereeing performance in Saturday’s United Rugby Championship Final against the Stormers.
The Stormers held on with everything they had – at the end of a dominant second-half display – to snatch a narrow 18-13 victory against the Bulls in Cape Town on Saturday as they outscored the visitors from Pretoria by two tries to one.
The only points scored in the first half was an early try by Bulls centre Harold Vorster, converted by flyhalf Chris Smith, while the hosts only managed a late penalty goal by flyhalf Manie Libbok, which saw the visitors enter the break 7-3 ahead.
During the post-match press conference, White told reporters his team was always facing an uphill battle.
“It is what it is,” said White. “I didn’t think we ever going to win that game.
“I thought the ref was outstanding. He saw what he saw – I couldn’t control the other things.”
White believes his team should have had more to show for their dominance in the first half.
“From a rugby point of view, we should have maybe been up more at half-time. We had so much territory and we didn’t finish and as I said the referee saw what he saw and I am happy with that.
“If he saw certain things on the field and he blew it like that then I am happy with that.
“This hurts a bit. I got the feeling we were probably out of it the whole time.”
The Bulls boss suggested that there were some questionable decisions when it came to offsides and the breakdown battle, with Stormers flank Deon Fourie dominating in that area.
“Right before half-time they got into our half and a got a penalty for offside. We got into their half about six times and we never got a penalty for offsides, so we can’t control those things,” said White.
On the breakdown battle, he added: “To be fair I didn’t even watch that contest. He [Fourie] is a good player.
“I thought Elrigh [Louw] played well and I thought Arno [Botha] played well. I think when you are a coach you don’t look at the opposition. You just look at your team.
“I thought [Steven] Kitshoff was outstanding at the breakdown too.
“I don’t want to sound like a whinger, but there were a couple of times when they went for the ball, missed it, and they came back and got it again and they got rewarded.
“That’s fine. If the referee sees it like that, that’s great.
“The other things that we couldn’t control, we will never control.
“If I can control those things then we will win, but I can’t control those things now.”
The Bulls also had to travel back from Ireland for the Final, but White didn’t want to use that as an excuse for his team’s performance.
“It’s not travel at all. You guys can work it out yourself. There were a lot of things tonight that we couldn’t control.
“I thought the ref only saw what he saw and at the end of the day that’s all you want the ref to do – he sees what he sees.”
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