Jake White after Sharks defeat: Bulls need reinforcements
After their chastening 30-16 United Rugby Championship (URC) loss to the star-studded Sharks at Kings Park on Friday night, Bulls coach Jake White admitted he needs to strengthen his squad.
The Bulls took on a strong Sharks, who started the match with established Springbok players like Lukhanyo Am, Bongi Mbonambi, Makazole Mapimpi, Siya Kolisi, Sbu Nkosi and Thomas du Toit.
White, on the other hand, relied on a largely inexperienced side led by Morné Steyn, Marcell Coetzee, Bismarck du Plessis, Cornal Hendricks and Arno Botha.
“This is the most experienced provincial club in SA,” said White of the Sharks.
“They have five players who have just come back from winning the World Cup a couple of years ago and they have players who have just come back from the end-of-year tour with the Springboks.
“It was always going to be a tough game but we are happy at how we have been developing. We still have lots of work to do, lots of things that we need to do in terms of strengthening our squad.
“They have brought in an Argentinian flyhalf, a Tongan and an Australian. The reality is that we have to find ways and it is whether we bring in personnel or we upskill the ones we have.
“We have to find ways in which to be competitive because this was going to be the game that people were talking about. But we get to play them at Loftus. We have played five away games, so it has been a tough start for us as a group. But that happens when you are the number one team in the county.”
White admitted there are improvements the Bulls need to make going forward.
“Obviously it is very disappointing to lose this game, especially after such a long break but they are a good side. I said it during the week that they are sort of an international team.
“There are things we know we can get right, and we will make sure the next time we play them. I am little bit disappointed that some of things didn’t work out. We got a yellow card for a prop struggling in the scrums. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that.
“I can’t give you the whole edited version of what happened in the match but again there are things in the scrums that we must get right. There will be personnel changes. Obviously we will bring in more experienced starting props in the next couple of games.
“We have a few outside backs that we can still use. That’s all part of the long season that we are going to have to play.
“I think there are a couple of things — I think we need to be a little bit smarter on how we control the ball to create more opportunities.
“We are going to come back at the end of December and we will get ready for the first fixture in January. That’s where we are now until there are changes. All our players will be back just after Christmas and we will prepare for the first weekend in January.”