Currie Cup

No tough half-time talk this time as Bulls learn to trust system

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Replacement flyhalf Chris Smith capped off a fine second half for the Bulls (Gallo Images)
Replacement flyhalf Chris Smith capped off a fine second half for the Bulls (Gallo Images)
  • Jake White didn't deliver a stern half-time talk this time round for the Bulls' stirring second half performance against the Cheetahs on Saturday.
  • The franchise's director of rugby instead chose to convince his team of the value of trusting their system and it was evident in them scoring 27 unanswered points. 
  • Cheetahs coach Hawies Fourie lamented a performance where "little was up to standard".

One of the features of the Bulls' domestic campaign under Jake White to date has been stirring second half performances, a feat they repeated in Saturday's 40-13 Currie Cup victory over the Cheetahs at Loftus.

For once, however, it didn't require a stern half-time talk from their director of rugby to inspire them after they went into the break unexpectedly deadlocked at 13-all.

"It was interesting. I think the players expected that I was going to give them a bollocking," said White.

"But I didn't really see the need for that. We didn't have the ball at times and when we did, we definitely created pressure, getting three or four penalties in a row at one stage. We went hard at them in the 22, but couldn't always break through."

The key, according to White, was merely to trust the system.

27 unanswered points in the last 40 minutes justified the simplicity of the approach.

"I just said go back to what we practiced and the things we spoke about," said White.

"It's really about just believing that the things we practice will help us win. The reality is that that's what good sides do.

"Sides like Leinster, who've dominated the PRO14, can be 13-all at half-time and then they'll end up getting a good result because they understand what direction they get from the coaches and leaders."

The Bulls will definitely view that as yet another example of their growth.

"Last week, we showed great character to win with 14 men against Western Province. This week, we played well in the second half and even reached a point where we went hard for a bonus point in the last five minutes," said White.

"And we got it. We're ticking all these building blocks. In future, we'll again be searching for a crucial bonus point or we'll be in a position where we're playing with 14 men. We're going to go into a half-time again having not hit our straps and needing to get it right.

"Those things go into the memory bank and you gain a lot of confidence from it."

In contrast, Cheetahs coach Hawies Fourie was decidedly dejected after a day at the office where his troops emerged with little credit.

"There are a lot of things we need to improve. I don't believe many of the things we did today were up to standard," he said.

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