‘Hopefully you get the double’ – Jake White’s classy speech to Northampton Saints in the wake of controversial Champions Cup week

Colin Newboult
Champions Cup Rugby, Bristol Bears versus Vodacom Bulls; Jake White Head of Rugby for Vodacom Bulls before kick off .

Bulls director of rugby Jake White.

Bulls director of rugby Jake White showed his class by congratulating Northampton Saints on their triumph in the Investec Champions Cup quarter-final.

Despite seeing his side succumb to a heavy defeat, the former Springboks head coach still had the grace to head to the Northampton dressing room and praise the victors in person.

It was captured on camera by the Saints’ media team, who released the video on X, formerly Twitter.

White’s classy touch

“You know what it’s like, sometimes when you’re on the back end of a result like that, it’s tough, but I just want to say to you guys, ‘well done’,” White said.

“You guys are flying high, it looks like you’ve got something special going on here. You’re top of the Premiership, into the semi-finals.

“Sometimes, as you will all know, you’ve got to pay your school fees and I’m sure our guys will appreciate when you come to Europe and play in these games, they’re bloody tough.

“I just want to compliment you for the way you played. Your attack was outstanding and for me, as I said in the media, even the way you kept us out when it was 59-22 just proves that you’re not giving anything away.

“All the best in the next couple of weeks, I really hope that you guys go the whole hog and hopefully get the double, so thanks very much guys. Cheers.”

Bulls in hot water with EPCR over controversial Champions Cup team selection – report

The 2007 Rugby World Cup winner was praised for the speech he delivered, especially considering the frustration of the heavy defeat.

“Extremely motivational and a class act from the opposition coach. This is how it’s done, even in the disappointment of your own defeat,” one person wrote in response to that video.

Another added: “After the Bulls/SA Rugby so predictably took several attacks from northern hemisphere media (and former players), here is our Springboks legend showing the way to behave…”

Controversy and semi-finals

White had been heavily criticised in the build-up to the Champions Cup last-eight clash after sending a weakened Bulls team to Northampton.

Their second-string were duly dumped out of the competition following a 59-22 hammering at Franklin’s Gardens as the Saints set up a semi-final with Leinster.

The Bulls decided to leave much of their first choice squad at home with 11 Springboks remaining in Pretoria.

Willie le Roux, Kurt-Lee Arendse and Canan Moodie were among those to miss out as only Sebastian de Klerk remained from the starting XV that thrashed Lyon 59-19 in the round-of-16.

According to reports in both the UK and South Africa, the EPCR were unhappy with their decision to field a much-changed outfit.

As a result, they could well be investigated by the governing body, who will feel that the Bulls have devalued the competition.

READ MORE: ‘We have to pay our school fees!’ – Jake White responds to Champions Cup drumming