How the Bulls tweaked their approach in ‘statement’ win over Ospreys at home

Dylan Coetzee
Bulls director of rugby Jake White.

Bulls director of rugby Jake White.

Bulls director of rugby Jake White believes the way his team beat the Ospreys 61-24 at Loftus Versfeld highlights the variation in their game.

The hosts ran in eight tries on the day headlined by braces from lethal Springboks duo Canan Moodie and Kurt-Lee Arendse as the Bulls showcased just how dangerous they could be.


For White, he was delighted the Bulls stood up in response to their loss against Munster the week before and insisted that the side could have scored up to 80 points in the win over the Ospreys.

“Someone asked me in the week, ‘What are you looking to get out of the game?’ I said I need a reaction,” White said. “The players can’t just talk after last week and say, ‘Jeez guys, we’ve let each other down.’

“Then they said, ‘How are you going to check?’ I said when 80 minutes is finished, you’re not going to get much more than that.

“You always want the perfect game as a coach but to score 60 points, probably have two or three tries disallowed and ripped out on the tryline, that could’ve all of a sudden been 80 points.

“You’re always critical about things and I wouldn’t really have liked to have leaked three tries like we did, but there was a lot of hard work at the end to make sure they didn’t get another one.

“You want a reaction and you want good teams that when they lose a game, the next week they almost take it out on the next opposition. And I think that’s what we saw today.”

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White felt it was a statement win for the side, particularly with the manner of the win and how they scored tries without only playing directly.

“Coaches are never happy, let’s be fair, but it makes a statement. Last week that team beat the DHL Stormers in Cape Town, they came with a massive high … and [Ospreys coach] Toby [Booth] came to me pretty humble because we played really well,” White said.

“When I spoke to the ref after the game he said, ‘jeez, it was amazing.’ He thought we were going to go direct and when he looked again, we were going around them and flying down the side of the field. That says a lot because that’s the way we want to play, we always want to make sure we have variation to our game.

“We want to make sure that people expect us to play with our forwards because we’ve got to be good enough to do that, but we also have to be good enough that when you expect us to play with our forwards we play with our backs, and I think we got that balance nicely tonight.”

The Bulls face Glasgow Warriors in their next league game before games against Benetton and the Sharks at the close of the regular season. White’s men are safe in the playoff race but will be eager to stay in the top four and secure a home knockout.

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