Jake White unhappy with Bulls’ performance in URC win against Lions
While the Bulls did just enough to beat the Lions 30-28 to return to winning ways in the United Rugby Championship (URC) on Saturday, their coach Jake White was not entirely pleased with the performance of his players.
The Bulls claimed bragging rights in the Jukskei derby with the narrow victory at Loftus Stadium. The win could have easily gone to the Johannesburg franchise had Jordan Hendrikse converted his long-range penalty after the hooter.
The Bulls, who lost their previous URC match to the Stormers, moved four points clear at the top of the South African Shield and to fourth on the overall standings.
White did not mince his words about how disappointed he was with his players.
“I thought our game management at times was poor,” he said. “For all the experience we have in the backs, we looked like we pulled the trigger too quick at times. We looked like we were disjointed.”
The coach was impressed with his side’s fighting spirit when they had their backs against the wall.
“There are obviously positives. We were 12-3 down and we came back to lead, and eventually led 27-18,” he said.
“So ja, I take that as a huge positive because some teams would have been 12-3 down and panicked and probably not got back in the fight.
“But it’s not the way we want to play. We gave them a try over the top of the line-out, that’s seven [points]; we dropped behind the in-goal area, that’s seven; and [for] the other we kicked long, and we should have had a chase line. I think Sergeal [Petersen] kicked too quickly, and they marked it.
“I don’t know what he was thinking, he’s a senior player. He’s just kicked the ball straight on the field and [Sanele] Nohamba got it, beat the first line and went and scored.
“As I said, I think there’s a lot of learning there, but a win is a win and sometimes you need a bit of luck. Maybe a year ago, Hendrikse kicked that ball over and we would have lost the game.
“Those are the margins and sometimes you need a bit of luck because it can change the season.”
The Lions appeared to be overpowering the Bulls at scrums and line-outs.
“I wasn’t surprised because they’ve got a good set piece, but I was disappointed with the inconsistency of our group,” White said.
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