Bulls coach White hopes to benefit from altitude against Bordeaux

18 January 2024 - 11:30
By Mahlatse Mphahlele
 Bulls players will be looking to take advantage of home conditions when they take on French side Bordeaux Bègles at Loftus on Saturday.
Image: Fred Porcu/INPHO/Shutterstock Bulls players will be looking to take advantage of home conditions when they take on French side Bordeaux Bègles at Loftus on Saturday.

Bulls coach Jake White is curious to find out what tactics the coaching staff of French side Bordeaux Bègles are going to use at altitude during their Champions Cup clash in Pretoria on Saturday. 

The Bulls take on Bordeaux at Loftus needing a point to secure their place in the knockout stage of the competition and a wily White said you must “play the conditions” because altitude plays a major role. 

“Altitude and heat play a role. Last week in Bristol it was freezing cold and you have to play the conditions. Everyone knows about altitude, that’s why top athletes go train at altitude before the Olympic Games. That is to make sure they get as fit as possible. 

“It does play a massive part and you have to put it in your game, there is no use playing as slow as you can and not using altitude to your advantage. The interesting thing is that they like to play quickly, so it is not like we are going to take them to a place where they haven’t been before.” 

Though conditions may favour the Bulls at home, White knows Bordeaux are not going to be pushovers. 

“They have basically beaten everybody convincingly in our pool, they are second on the log in the Top 14 and they are the form team. I looked at their results and I don't think they have lost a game in a long time home or away. 

“With the way this match is set out, they are going to have to bring their main guys. I say this because if Lyon wins and we get a bonus point or we win by a lot of points, it could change the whole dynamic of who finishes where on the log. 

“So, I take it as a given that they will bring their best players.” 

White backs his team to do the job at home and qualify for the next round. 

“To be fair we also have played really good rugby and scored lots of points. We are the top try-scoring team in the United Rugby Championship, so its going to be an interesting game. It is altitude and 3pm in the afternoon which is different conditions to what they are used to. 

“If they want to play quickly, probably in a lot of ways it will play into our hands, especially when you land on Wednesday and play on a Saturday it has a different effect.”