Currie Cup

Jake White hails Bulls comeback spirit: 'It was a final to remember'

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Jake White during the Currie Cup final between Bulls and Sharks.
Jake White during the Currie Cup final between Bulls and Sharks.
(Lee Warren/Gallo Images)
  • Jake White was thrilled after his Bulls team pulled off a spirited comeback to beat the Sharks 26-19 after extra-time and lift the Currie Cup trophy.
  • White said: "It’s definitely a final that everyone will remember."
  • He also praised the calming effect captain Duane Vermeulen and two-try hero Arno Botha had on the victors.

Jake White was at his beaming best after his Bulls team pulled off a spirited comeback to beat the Sharks 26-19 after extra-time and lift the Currie Cup trophy at Loftus on Saturday.

That they hoisted the trophy aloft in front of no one but themselves and the luckless visitors didn’t sour the victory in White’s view.

The match was also hampered by a thunderstorm that forced a 30-minute pause in proceedings midway through the first half, as the Bulls were leading 6-3.

"There were no crowds because of Covid," said White.

"There was lightning and thunder that caused the first half to be cut in half. We had to adapt to everything all the time.

"It’s definitely a final that everyone will remember in a Covid year, for many different reasons.

"I’m proud of the way we stuck at it.

"We had a chance on the hooter to win it, then they had a chance and they didn’t take it.

"And then they got a penalty that they missed. Suddenly, we got a turnover … It was an incredible game.

"When I was reflecting on it, our bench came on and handled the pressure.

"That’s the sort of thing you want to get in your team going forward."

PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - JANUARY 30: Jake White du

The Sharks came out the gates flying after the resumption of play following the lightning interruption.

They shocked the hosts with a S’bu Nkosi try a minute before half-time to take a handy 13-9 advantage into the tunnel.

But through the character and big personalities in their cloakroom – not least of them captain Duane Vermeulen and two-try hero Arno Botha – the Bulls were able to claw back and take the spoils in the game’s 100th minute.

"Never mind 80 minutes, Duane played 100 minutes," said White.

"For a guy who is getting on, who we have to manage from week-to-week, he stayed calm. Arno Botha, who is one of our captains as well, also kept the boys calm.

"We probably weren’t up for it in the beginning but we found a way to win.

"Why and how, I don’t know. But we had the ability to finish well and that’s because of our conditioning staff.

"When we had that little [lightning] break, Duane said he got that feeling that we were standing back and we weren’t as energised as they were.

"I’ve been coaching a long time and sometimes, when you’re not at your best, you still find a way to win.

"There’s a lot to be taken from that, a lot to be proud of and to build on from that."

Victory ended the Bulls' 11-year drought without winning the competition and gave White a rare Super Rugby Unlocked and Currie Cup domestic double.

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