United Rugby Championship

Jake White on Bulls' scrum woes: 'We will rectify this'

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Bulls mentor Jake White. (Photo by Darren Stewart/Gallo Images)
Bulls mentor Jake White. (Photo by Darren Stewart/Gallo Images)

Bulls director of rugby Jake White is confident his side's issues at scrum time will be fixed.

White was speaking after his side's 30-16 United Rugby Championship defeat to the Sharks in Durban on Friday.

The Sharks bossed the scrums, with their front row of Ntuthuko Mchunu, Bongi Mbonambi and Thomas du Toit giving the Bulls' Gerhard Steenekamp, Bismarck du Plessis and Robert Hunt all sorts of problems.

It was particularly on the tighthead side where the Bulls struggled badly with Hunt, a new recruit from Varsity Cup side UCT, given a rude awakening.

After making his first URC start, Hunt was replaced in the second half by Springbok Lizo Gqoboka, who was playing his first game at tighthead prop. But Gqoboka was yellow-carded when referee Jaco Peyper lost his patience after a number of scrum penalties.

The Bulls had entered the contest without Springbok tighthead Trevor Nyakane, who has signed for French outfit Racing 92, and they were also without the injured Mornay Smith and Jacques van Rooyen.

"We have only just tried Lizo at tighthead prop. Robert Hunt was still playing Varsity Cup rugby a few months ago," White told reporters afterwards. "There was no Jacques van Rooyen, Trevor Nyakane or Mornay Smith, so it was always going to be a big challenge.

"On our ball we were smart, I enjoyed how we moved the ball away from the scrums, but on their scrums, we could not stop them from putting us under pressure.

"We will rectify this. We might be able to get some experienced tighthead props."

Despite the defeat, White said there were enough positives to take from a game in which they led for large parts.

"We did not want to lose this game after such a long break. But they are a good team, they are like an international club team. We need to fix a few things, but these are things that can be fixed.

"It was an away game against a Springbok-laden team. It would always be a measure of where we are and the things we need to fix will fix us."

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