Jake White Bulls

Jake White of the Bulls. Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images

Bulls coach challenges Sharks: Let’s see how good you are!

Bulls coach Jake White has suggested the pressure is all on the Sharks heading into Friday’s URC game in Durban.

Jake White Bulls

Jake White of the Bulls. Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images

Over the past 18 months, the Bulls have established themselves as the leading South African side, winning back-to-back Currie Cup titles and progressing to the Rainbow Cup final against Benetton.

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Their closest rivals during this period do seem to have been the Sharks, who have recently gone through a recruitment drive ahead of the URC, adding several high-class players to a considerably bolstered squad.

For Friday’s fixture against the Bulls, new recruit Bongi Mbonambi joins several Springboks who have been drafted back into the Sharks’ matchday squad.

“There’s no pressure on us,” White said during a press conference on Thursday.

“They’ve got internationals from Samoa, Scotland and Australia (and Argentina), they’re playing at home … They’ve been telling us for months that it’s just a question of time before those guys arrive back and things change. So I’m looking forward to seeing how good they are, because we are just growing along as a team.

“Bongi is the dominant hooker who starts every week, and we’ve got Bismarck du Plessis there – he’s got 79 Test matches and has won a World Cup, and I’m quite keen to see how he and Bongi’s battle goes. Scrums are always important in South Africa. And we’ve got a guy who played 79 Tests, weighs over 100kg, knows Thomas (du Toit) well, and I’m sure he will introduce himself to Bongi tomorrow evening.”

Why Bulls picked Arendse at fullback

White also explained the selection of Kurt-Lee Arendse at fullback, warning that the Sharks would be punished if they kicked poorly.

“We’ve just played David Kriel there, and I’d like to see another option at fullback. I think a guy like Kurt-Lee gets some space – the Sharks kick a lot of ball – so what I’m thinking is that if they kick poorly and he gets the ball in his hands, he can play like a sevens player.

“He can counter-attack, and I appreciate the fact that he is very good when he’s got some space around him. The other thing about fullback is that he can play on both sides of the field. When he’s on the wing, he’s probably limited to certain plays going his side, whereas at fullback, we can use him to the left and the right.”

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