Vodacom Bulls coach Jake White says Ivan van Zyl’s performance against the Stormers is a demonstration of Fourie du Preez’s impact on their halfbacks.
The Bulls put in what was comfortably their best performance of the year to claim a 39-6 victory over the Stormers in a lightning-affected match at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday evening.
Having gone into the break 32-6 ahead, the Bulls were leading 39-6 before a massive thunderstorm rolled into Pretoria and referee AJ Jacobs was left with no choice but to usher the players into the change rooms for their safety.
Speaking during the online post-match press conference, a clearly chuffed White praised the manner in which his team dismantled the Stormers’ defence.
‘The first 40 minutes was probably the best we’ve played in a long time, considering the opposition we played against,’ White said. ‘The thing that I enjoyed the most is the continuity and the interplay between backs and forwards.
‘It wasn’t a case of just playing with our forwards, although I must say I think our forwards were outstanding… the way they scrummed and the way they mauled… it definitely set up a platform for the backs to play… but I definitely enjoyed the interplay between the backs and forwards. Some of the touches and some of the offloading was really pleasing.’
The Bulls were boosted by fantastic performances from halfback pair Van Zyl and Morne Steyn.
White said that Van Zyl was reaping the benefits of being able to work with former Springboks and Bulls scrumhalf Du Preez, who has joined their coaching setup as a consultant.
‘All we do is let him train with Fourie du Preez once per week. You can see the impact that Fourie du Preez has with helping the halfback,’ White said. ‘We didn’t get to see Embrose today, but I can tell you that the little things and the detail that Du Preez has had.
‘It’s like confidence. When you have a guy like him, coming in and helping them with their technical stuff and understanding about the game and getting a feel for what their roles are. You can never underestimate what sort of knowledge and intellectual property they are getting.’
Meanwhile, veteran flyhalf Steyn rolled back the years with a classic performance as he put the Stormers under massive pressure under the high ball and picked up two try assists.
‘I must say, I watched him play when he was at Stade Francais while I was coaching at Montpellier,’ White said. ‘He was still winning games there and winning man of the match awards.
‘When he was there, Stade Francais won the league and he was one of the most important players for them as well.
‘The thing that I have really enjoyed is that Jacques [van Rooyen], Duane [Vermeulen] and Morne, all older guys, the kind of role model and performances they are giving the juniors is making is so much easier for the coaching staff to get those juniors to play like that.
‘When they play like that, it rubs off on the junior players.’
Photo: Lee Warren/Gallo Images