As Bulls head north, Jake White reflects on beating by Sharks

January 3, 2023 0 By Cypher9ja

The Bulls, not so long ago an unstoppable force, came up against an immovable object in the Sharks in Durban last weekend, coach Jake White admitting the power of the home side was simply too much for his team, especially as they were reduced to 13 men at one stage.

The Bulls had begun the first half well, leading 13-6 after the first quarter, but they ended it in disarray as the Sharks’ forwards began to win penalties and two yellow cards were handed out as the home side scored three tries in the 10 minutes before the break. They went on to win 47-20.

“The Sharks have a lot of unbelievable power in their pack and in the backs, and you can’t play with 13 men and hope to stop that,” White said.

“We started well, we moved the ball well and we looked in control. But then we lost a lineout with a knock-on, we then conceded a scrum penalty and they kicked into the corner and scored, and we were on the back foot.

“Once you let the Sharks into your 22, they’re good enough to score against anyone. And they just repeated it. It was difficult for us to stop their power with 15 men, almost impossible with 13.

Read more: It was meant to be close but Sharks destroy Bulls 47-20

“We’ve come up against two massive teams with lots of experience and Springboks over the last two weeks and there are some things you cannot fast-track like a young front row against five Springboks in the pack,” White said.

Running repairs

The Bulls now have to do running repairs as they flew to Dubai on Monday night, en route to London and then a bus trip to south Wales for Friday night’s United Rugby Championship match against the Dragons.

Back-up hooker Jan-Hendrik Wessels was ruled out of the trip due to injury, and centre Lionel Mapoe and wing Stravino Jacobs are being rested. And time is not a luxury the Bulls have as they look to bounce back from three successive defeats.

“We’ll get it right, but the thing about sport is that it takes a while,” White said. “We were in the same boat at this time last year, towards the bottom of the log, and we showed what character can do.

“The players still have to grow and develop and we need to give credit to the Sharks – this is a tough place to play and they are a very good team. It became an uphill battle for us, but we fought bravely.

“It doesn’t get any easier with three more away games in January. The players need time on the clock and this is just something we have to go through, even if it’s painful.

“I am confident we will get it right, they’re a good bunch of guys, they work hard and they’re hurting. It’s going to be a massive character test,” White said.

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