United Rugby Championship

White welcomes Ulster threat with double Duane Vermeulen whammy: We must play these teams

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Jake White. (Photo by Harry Murphy/Gallo Images)
Jake White. (Photo by Harry Murphy/Gallo Images)
  • Bulls director of rugby Jake White expects fireworks from their United Rugby Championship clash against Ulster on Saturday.
  • The Belfast side has Duane Vermeulen in its ranks and he is a former Bulls captain who left the franchise last year.
  • White expects the European teams to get better with every outing in South Africa.

Bulls director of rugby Jake White says Saturday's United Rugby Championship clash against Ulster at Loftus Versfeld is part of the journey they'll have to take should they reach the playoffs.

There's also the Duane Vermeulen factor at Ulster, whom White said knows the Bulls inside out and will mean the Bulls have to change tactics here and there.

The Vermeulen factor though is just part of the terrain the Bulls have to navigate to make up for the early tournament miss-steps and the unfortunate slip-ups on the local derbies.

White spoke on the back of his team's 55-20 demolition of the Dragons at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday, their third consecutive success at the Sunnyside ground.

URC log

White said Ulster were unlucky to lose to the Stormers and the challenge they'll pose is one the Bulls need.

"I watched that game with interest and I thought they were very unlucky and there will be a lot of debate about that final try," White said.

"Had they scored there, they would have won the game, but it's going to be a tough game and they've also got Duane.

"He'll know a lot more about us more than any other player. He was the captain here and knows the intricacies of everything we've done in the past two years.

"That's something we'll have to think about, but it won't get any easier because if you want to be in the playoffs, you'll have to play the big Irish teams again.

"We've got to be good enough at home and make sure we prepare as well as we can because it's a home game.

"We've left the door open for ourselves. We must make sure we don't close it."

The Irish teams in the URC are what the New Zealand sides were for SA in Super Rugby. The all-around threat offered by Ulster is something that excites White.

The Bulls dropped points in big defeats against Leinster and Connacht while Munster ran them close two weeks ago.

White said they aim to get better each week and know that they'll have to remain adaptable.

"To win this competition, you've got to have an all-round game and teams like Leinster have been successful for a reason," White said.

"They can attack from all over and they can also score from five yards with pick and drives. We just need to make sure we grow in every department.

"I don't think there's one area that we're struggling in specifically, but it's about making sure we get right everything that we need to do.

"We too have to play in the mud and the wet and it'll be a different game as compared to the one we played."

That the European teams have only won one game in SA isn't a surprise for White, but expects them to get better with more tours and the influx of their Test players.

"The most important thing now is that the weather conditions are so different. They've been training in the rain and the mud," White said.

"Other than the Sharks game, they're playing on hard fields where the sun is shining and they've got to adapt.

"As they play more and more, they'll get better and to be fair, it was difficult for us when we also started in the tournament.

"One of the teams arrived on Wednesday and maybe looking forward into the future, they won't arrive that late for a game." 

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