Jake wants Bulls' best against Stormers

rugby28 February 2024 12:17| © SuperSport
By:Brenden Nel
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With everyone falling over their own feet not to mention the DHL Stormers’ winning streak, Vodacom Bulls coach Jake White went a different route ahead of the Loftus Versfeld showdown this week, and complemented John Dobson’s team as the “form team of the tournament.”

It seems neither the Stormers or Bulls want to rehash the dominance the Cape side have over the Bulls in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship, or make it a talking point ahead of the Loftus game, and a new approach is needed.

As Loftus lurches towards a sell-out crowd - Wednesday saw only 10 000 tickets left for the clash - White went on the charm offensive and complemented Dobson’s side to the hilt.

“To be fair they’ve had our number in this competition, but to be fair they’ve probably had a lot of teams' numbers. They are the form team of this competition since it started. They’ve played one final and have won, played another final and lost narrowly,” White explained.

“So what they do they do very well. They are a very settled coaching staff, they’ve been together for 10-15 years almost at Province, where they have been through junior ranks. They’ve had a lot more time to be together and plan things well.”


White said in contrast the challenge for his side was to play their best rugby against the Stormers - something they have not achieved up to now.

“We on the hand are still getting better. I’m much happier about where we are in year three as opposed to where we were in year one. The things we need to do - simply is that we need to play out best rugby against them.

“We never really have played our best rugby against them, because they’ve never really allowed us to. They obviously have a very good defensive side. We’ve played Saracens here and played really well, we’ve played Leinster here and played well. It doesn’t matter what calibre of Leinster side, we played well against them.

“The one side we haven’t kicked on well against is the Stormers. There are reasons for that. They do what they do very well. We just have to find a way to nullify the things they do well. That is what the message is, we have to play as well as we can and we know we can.”

When it comes to the 7-0 streak in URC games that gets Stormers fans giddy at the sound of it, White isn’t concerned about the numbers, but rather that the turnaround comes that it helps the Bulls in the bigger scheme of the season.

“I’m not even worried about the streak. They are the form team in the competition. They’ve been in two finals, and that is more than Leinster. Leinster are probably the most complete team in the competition and they haven’t got to two finals. You put that in perspective and you have to give the Stormers credit for what they achieved.

“A lot of sides haven’t got it right against them. I don’t talk about how long, when or where, it is another game. We’ve played well at Loftus, we’ve played well against good teams at Loftus. I’m just expecting us to grow as a group and get better and better and better. If you look where we were three years ago as a group and you look where we are now, I’ve got a lot more confidence that our group has grown a lot.”

Either way, Saturday’s showdown will be massive, and will have consequences for the rest of the season for both sides, with both being desperate to win, whatever niceties they tell the world in the build-up.