‘Very proud’ Jake White wants Bulls to create a legacy after record-breaking Currie Cup triumph
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CAPE TOWN - THE Bulls may have claimed back-to-back Currie Cups, but that doesn’t mean they are done yet with winning silverware, said proud coach Jake White after a superb 44-10 final victory over the Sharks on Saturday night.
The Pretoria outfit ran in six tries to just the one from the Durbanites in a dominant display of power and precision that underlined their status as the best team in South Africa.
The Bulls produced a record-breaking triumph, with their 34-point winning margin surpassing the 30-point mark set by Northern Transvaal in their 39-9 victory over Western Province in the 1980 final.
It was also the first time that a team clinched two consecutive finals since 2004, when the Bulls won three in a row from 2002.
“I’m very proud of the fact that it’s a back-to-back result. It hasn’t happened for 17 years. This union is an incredibly proud rugby union,” White said during the post-match press conference.
“We want to be the best club. We want to make sure that we create a bit of a legacy, and we are very thankful for what’s happened before. Let’s not forget that players before us have had exactly the same successes, and that’s probably why we can do what we do – because we have a bit of a legacy that’s been given to us.
“I don’t want to get too sentimental about it, but since I’ve been here, that is exactly what we’ve been pushing. The jersey is helluva important, and when they play like they did tonight, I’m sure the supporters and everybody that’s involved with the Bulls will be very, very proud.
“I’m obviously very, very happy (about the record margin of victory). I’m happy about the last two weeks. I think there’s definitely been a progression in our game.
“When you enter a competition, what you want to see is that at the back-end of the competition, you get better. So, we were spot-on with our conditioning, spot-on with our plans the last two weeks.
“To beat (Western) Province like we did last week, and beat the Sharks convincingly like we did today, it’s a tick for everybody – it’s a tick for the coaches, it’s a tick for the conditioning staff, and the players’ preparation.
“I am obviously very ecstatic about the fact that we managed to finish off on such a high note.”
White believes that the Bulls’ early defensive prowess, when they held the Sharks at bay for 12 phases before winning a breakdown penalty, paved the way for a highly efficient performance as they were able to score from the resultant lineout when centre Harold Vorster powered his way to the try-line.
“That very first set of defence, where they got the ball and attacked us and attacked us, I think we went through many, many phases and we got a turnover, a penalty and then we could kick it downfield,” the former Springbok coach said.
“From there, we turned that into a try from first-phase – you don’t get better than that. You defend your line, everyone’s in place, and your system’s in place…
“Then you get a first chance to go and score in a final, and then you take it and score, as Harold Vorster did there. That is what it’s all about. If you’re playing in a big game, you’ve got to make sure that the big moments aren’t always on attack – the big moments can be both.
“We played at altitude, and them keeping the ball and keeping the ball, I could see that they were probably dead on their feet after about the first 15 minutes – because altitude catches you.
“A lot has been written this week about how they are not going into their shell, and they are not going to play Test rugby – they are going to have a go.
“So, the fact that we could counter that, that we could defend and keep our shape – and not get them to go around us, as they have to other teams and to us on other occasions – is obviously (satisfying).
“The altitude then gets to them, and then when they are dead on their feet, you have an ability to pounce on them.
“Two first-phase plays in the first half, one try by Harold and one try by Lionel (Mapoe)… it’s sort of like punch and counter-punch when you can defend like we did. Then put them under the pump fatigue-wise, and then take the chance and finish them off with 12 points.”