Rainbow Cup

(Distant) Brumbie bond: Verity-Amm keen to immediately repay Jake's faith

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James Verity-Amm. (Photo by Frikkie Kapp/Gallo Images)
James Verity-Amm. (Photo by Frikkie Kapp/Gallo Images)
  • Dogged by two career-threatening injuries previously, James Verity-Amm can't quite believe he's now at the Bulls after reviving his prospects at unfashionable Griquas.
  • A former Brumbies player, the 26-year-old has been pleasantly surprised by the communication style of his new coach, Jake White, himself a former Brumbies mentor.
  • Contrary to some perceptions, Verity-Amm has been told to play instinctively at Loftus and hasn't been bombarded with information on the Bulls' way of play.

To believe the Bulls signed James Verity-Amm because both he and his new director of rugby, Jake White, have roots at the Brumbies is nothing more than mythical thinking.

White left Australia's most successful Super Rugby franchise almost a full three years before his 26-year-old utility back packed his bags in 2016 for Perth to join the Future Force, the Western Force's academy.

Centrally contracted by the end of his first full campaign the following year, Verity-Amm was assigned to the Brumbies following the Force's exclusion from Super Rugby.

He would only make a solitary appearance before successive shoulder and back injuries put his career in the balance, prompting him to return to South Africa.

READ | How the Griquas’ Verity-Amm was nearly lost to rugby

Thrown a lifeline by Griquas, Verity-Amm shone throughout and got an unexpected call from White, the man with a mixed if telling legacy in Canberra - the World Cup winner who led the Brumbies to a Super Rugby final within the first two years of his tenure, only to leave shortly afterwards.

"I never thought I would land up at the Bulls after growing up in the Cape and with the Stormers being the big team there, but I'm happy to be here at the Bulls," he said, ahead of Saturday's crucial clash against the Sharks at Loftus in Rainbow Cup SA.

"It's a fantastic team and I'm proud to say I'm a part of it."

Despite the pedigree that White boasts, Verity-Amm admits to being pleasantly surprised by the Bulls mentor's crisp yet effective communication.

Since joining last month, he hasn't been bombarded with information on how to play the Bulls' way.

"Jake is obviously a great coach. He's been around the block and knows what he's doing," said Verity-Amm.

"I have no doubt he's going to help elevate me and push my game forward."

And for that to become a reality, White has clearly decided his latest utility back - who can play at centre, wing and fullback - first needs to become comfortable by showing off his natural instincts as a player.

"Jake is absolutely an open and honest man. But, to be honest, our dialogue has to date been quite brief," said Verity-Amm.

"Before I made my (Bulls) debut against the Lions (a fortnight ago), he was very encouraging. He let me know that he picked me for a reason to play in that game and backed me 100%.

"I was just told to go out there and do my thing, play my rugby. It's unbelievable always to have that type of backing from any coach. It shows from the outset that he has confidence in you. He's been very supportive."

Expect Verity-Amm to reciprocate that trust.

Kick-off at Loftus is at 18:15 on Saturday.

Teams:

Bulls

TBA

Sharks

15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am (captain), 12 Jeremy Ward, 11 Yaw Penxe, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Jaden Hendrikse, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Henco Venter, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Reniel Hugo, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Fez Mbatha, 1 Ox Nche

Substitutes: 16 Kerron van Vuuren, 17 Ntuthuko Mchunu, 18 Wiehahn Herbst, 19 Le Roux Roets, 20 Phepsi Buthelezi, 21 Sanele Nohamba, 22 Manie Libbok, 23 Werner Kok

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