Bulls: ‘We have a history of playing well in big games’ says Jake White ahead of Stormers clash
Bulls director of rugby Jake White is in a confident mood ahead of his side’s United Rugby Championship (URC) quarter-final against the Stormers in Cape Town on Saturday.
White believes the Stormers are the favourites but said his team “have a history of playing really well in big games”.
This weekend’s encounter is a repeat of last year’s final which the Stormers won 18-13 at the same venue – a match which was part of a five-match winning streak against their arch rivals from Pretoria, after they also beat the Bulls at home and away in the 2021/22 and 2022/23 seasons.
White‘s troops reached that final after clinching a shock 27-26 away victory against Irish heavyweights Leinster in their semi-final.
That result is viewed as the biggest upset of last season but White feels beating the Stormers this weekend will also be a huge achievement, although he doesn’t like it when he is reminded of his team’s record in the URC against the men from the Cape.
Not underestimating the champions
“I think you’re being disrespectful to the Stormers if you say last year (against Leinster) was a bigger ask,” the former Springbok coach told IOL. “These are champions… These guys won the competition.
“But five times… It’s irrelevant. It’s absolutely irrelevant how many times they’ve won before. The players are in the right space. It’s knockout rugby now, and a couple of months ago, we had no chance of making the playoffs.
“If I read all the articles, we were doom and gloom. We had, in everyone’s eyes, a poor season after ending sixth on the log. Some teams play really well and end up fifth and fourth…
“So, it’s a massive challenge, I am not disputing that. But it’s a knockout game now, and one thing we have managed to do over time is to play really well in games that have counted, where we’ve had to win and knock people out of competitions.
“That’s all I can trust myself and the team on – we’ve got a history of playing really well in those big games.
“And it’s going to be massive: I heard there’s going to be 38 000 tickets sold, and we played in that final last year and it was an unbelievable occasion.”
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