Rainbow Cup

Bulls won't be complacent in Rainbow Cup showdown: 'We can't be a batter that just blocks'

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Madosh Tambwe. (Photo by Gordon Arons/Gallo Images)
Madosh Tambwe. (Photo by Gordon Arons/Gallo Images)
  • Jake White says his Bulls can't be a batter that blocks every delivery in their Rainbow Cup showdown with the Sharks this weekend.
  • The men from Loftus only require a single point to advance to next week's final, but White hopes that doesn't breed complacency.
  • The Bulls mentor says the Sharks are a good team with a firm identity though his charges should look out for opportunities where they might deviate from their normal game plan.

A batter can't go to the crease in a 50-over cricket game expecting just to block things out.

Bulls mentor Jake White used that rather appropriate analogy to describe the task facing his charges on Saturday when they take on the Sharks in what is effectively a Rainbow Cup semi-final.

The visitors require a bonus point to ensure their passage to next week's final against Benetton, while the Durbanites will have to win and score four tries or more.

But the Bulls won't fall into the trap of aiming for the lowest-hanging branch.

Teams:

Sharks

15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Anthony Volmink, 13 Lukhanyo Am (captain), 12 Marius Louw, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Jaden Hendrikse, 8 Phepsi Buthelezi, 7 Thembelani Bholi, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 JJ van der Mescht, 3 Khutha Mchunu, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Khwezi Mona

Substitutes: TBC

Bulls

15 David Kriel, 14 Madosh Tambwe, 13 Marco Jansen van Vuren, 12 Cornal Hendricks, 11 Stravino Jacobs, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Marcell Coetzee (captain), 7 Ruan Nortje, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Janko Swanepoel, 4 Walt Steenkamp, 3 Mornay Smith, 2 Johan Grobbelaar, 1 Gerhard Steenekamp

Substitutes: 16 Schalk Erasmus, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Nizaam Carr, 20 Muller Uys, 21 Keagan Johannes, 22 Clinton Swart, 23 Gio Aplon

"I've coached long enough to know that going to a game like this one, it's like playing a 50-over game of cricket but just trying to defend and block every delivery," said White.

"You can't bat like that because you won't win. The reality is that you need to make runs. That's why I believe this game is going to be an exciting one because we also want to score four tries. That's probably the best way for us to gain the point we need to go through.

"We're going to go flat out for four tries and the Sharks are going to too. To be honest, if we dot down four times we'll probably be in a winning position anyway."

White's confidence in his unit's attacking ability is justified as their try-scoring exploits suggest exactly that.

They've scored 18 tries in five matches and even their least fluent performance - in the opening round against the Lions - still saw them cross the whitewash three times.

"We've scored four against the Stormers, five against the Lions and another four against the Sharks previously," said White.

"It's a nice opportunity for us to see if we can keep that type of momentum going."

Tellingly, the Bulls have been potent without having to pull any rabbits out of the hat.

"If you need to play a style of rugby that deviates a bit from your normal game, it's a risk and presents opportunities. If it comes off, it's great but it can also end in disaster. It's like me telling the boys to run everything, it's not going to work because that's not the way we play we haven't trained like that," said White.

"It's going to be interesting. The Sharks are a good side that's pushed us a few times over the past months. They play a certain style that suits them. They're going to be motivated. It's going to be one of those games where the Sharks might have a desire to play a bit differently."

Kick-off is at 18:15 on Saturday.  

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