'Clever' Edinburgh's time-wasting backfires as Jake's Bulls learn lessons in URC win

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Edinburgh flank Hamish Watson receives attention. (Photo by Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images)
Edinburgh flank Hamish Watson receives attention. (Photo by Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images)
  • Bulls mentor Jake White intimated after a tough win over Edinburgh that the Scots' time-wasting tactics bit back at them.
  • He noted that the lack of rhythm to the match might've prevented the visitors from launching a more concerted victory push in the middle stages of the match.
  • While chuffed with the eventual result, White hopes his youthful charges learn lessons from an encounter where their focus dipped at times.

Jake White was the first to admit that his youthful Bulls combination made heavy weather of their 33-31 URC victory over Edinburgh at Loftus on Saturday, but still pondered whether the Scots fell prey to their own impetuosity.

The visitors contributed greatly to a contest that eventually spanned almost two hours with various time-wasting tactics, ostensibly allowing them to counter the vaunted Highveld altitude more effectively.

It's true that flyhalf Jaco van der Walt and flanker Jamie Ritchie needed legitimate attention to injuries in the first half though three water breaks in over that 40 minute period appeared excessive.

"I thought Edinburgh managed the time really well: changing boots, coming off all the time, going back on," said White.

"At times I was a bit frustrated, because we would've liked to have sped it up a bit more, and kept the ball in play. Maybe we could've kept them pinned down a little more."

However, the wily Bulls mentor believed it eventually came back to bite them, even if the hosts were saved by Henry Immelman going wide with a long range penalty attempt that would've reversed the result.

READ | 'Old man' Steyn settles nerves again as iffy Bulls manage to hold off enterprising Edinburgh

"It’s funny how it works. Sometimes, by them slowing it up, they ran out of time at the end as well. Sometimes you can catch out yourself. If there were another three or four minutes – if they hadn’t slowed the game up in the middle parts of the game, who knows what might've happened?

"Where do you get a guy [Edinburgh prop Pierre Schoeman] changing boots one minute after halftime when he’s just been 15 minutes in the change-room to change his boots?

"Look, they are a clever side, they are well-coached. We lost to them last year, and now we get a result against them at home, and that’s positive for us."

Despite the happy outcome, White implored his charges to learn from the experience, specifically to keep concentration when establishing promising positions, especially against streetwise opposition like Edinburgh, who boasted 15 internationals in their match squad.

"You’ve got to work hard in these competitions. The margins are very small. Literally that kick from Henry was worth three log points. We would've got two points if it went over – now we get five. That's the message I gave the players. Don’t underestimate how tough this competition is," he said.

"I just thought, not taking anything away from their performance, every time we got a little bit of a buffer, we made one or two silly mistakes.

"I think, to be fair, the players felt that as well that it would be an easy win. When they got 15 points up, they scored relatively easily from the pressure they built, and it’s human – maybe they thought it will just happen on its own.

"So, it’s a lesson you learn, but it’s easier to learn that lesson when you’ve got a win under the belt as opposed to a loss."

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