Super Rugby

Jake White effect setting in at Bulls

Jake White (Getty)
Jake White (Getty)
  • Bulls fans not able to attend the games won’t recognise it during lockdown but their team is getting the full Jake White effect.
  • White said he kept heads cool with his post-match message after the Cheetahs loss in Bloemfontein.
  • The Bulls dismantled the Sharks 41-14 on Saturday - not the first time a White side did a number on the Durbanites.


Bulls director of rugby Jake White said he kept the boys calm after the narrow defeat to the Cheetahs two weekends ago in a post-match pep talk that laid the platform for the Sharks demolition on Saturday.

Not too long ago, a loss like the one in Bloemfontein could have sparked some sort of Bulls losing streak and mental collapse but, with White in charge, the Bulls are seeing full value for money in sports psychology.

Fans not able to attend the games won’t recognise it during lockdown but the Bulls are getting the full Jake White effect and it showed in the six-try surgical 41-14 dismantling of the Sharks – a week after losing 19-17 to the Cheetahs.

White said he didn’t have to do much to turn the loss into a near-flawless performance in a week, bar to keep heads cool in the camp.

“Post the Cheetahs game, I said to them what I said to the media: had that (Chris Smith) kick gone over, everyone would have said everything is fine,” said White.

“We missed that conversion and that was the difference between the teams. Don’t forget, Free State are the current Currie Cup champions.

“The message straight after the game was: let’s not lose hope. The reality is, we were one kick away from getting a draw against Free State and they had just pumped the Pumas the week before.

“It was about the way we reacted post the game last week. They understood that it wasn’t all doom and gloom.

“We were down 19-6 and we came back and lost 19-17. You take a lot of heart from that and a lot of positives from it.”

White has done a number of demolition jobs on the Sharks in the past, notably in 2013, when his Brumbies team scythed them at Kings Park, scoring 24 unanswered first half point en route to a 29-10 win.

That was a Sharks team that was unbeaten in three straight games and had made the Super Rugby final the year before – losing to the Chiefs in Hamilton.

During the Super Fan Saturday warm-up game, White’s team again put the Sharks to the sword when the Bulls charged to a 49-28 win that was the harbinger to what transpired at Loftus last Saturday.

Asked about the complete domineering showing, again by a team he coached, over the men from Durban, White shrugged it off and put it down to the Bulls finally taking their chances.

“I don’t know what it is about the Sharks but maybe because we did so well against them last time, it’s always easy to get the players up,” he said.

“We knew they would come back with an improved performance. What was wrong from the last two weeks to this was that we just started to take our chances.

“Last couple of weeks we probably had the same opportunities and never used them. The thing that really impressed me the most is how our bench comes on and makes a massive impact.

“When you consider that we’ve finished really strongly three weeks in a row, so conditioning wise it gives our reserves the ability to come on and make a significant change.”

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