Jake White has emphasised the eight-point advantage from beating local rivals as the Vodacom Bulls and Sharks prepare to lock horns in Pretoria on Saturday.
The Bulls host the Sharks in round 7 of the Vodacom URC at Loftus Versfeld, after White’s charges climbed to third on the standings with victory against Connacht last week, while the Durbanites beat the Dragons at Kings Park for their first win of the season.
It is a first derby of 2023-24 for The Herd, and White insisted that the SA Shield front-runners are up for the challenge posed by the Sharks, with two Springbok-powered sides set to clash in a Highveld blockbuster.
“It’s an exciting time at the Bulls and we’re looking forward to it,” the director of rugby told reporters this week. “We’ve played well at home in the last couple of weeks and I hope we can keep doing that.
“It’s going to be a hell of a game and you have to win your home games, especially derbies, because they are double-headers and swingers.
“You can get an eight-point swing from them because, by winning, you’re not only taking four points, but you’re also denying a team four points.”
White raved about the influence of the returning World Cup-winning Boks, reminiscing on the heydays of star-studded SA teams going head to head in Super Rugby in the Republic.
“Every derby should be like that and… we’d have 45 000 people in here for a Super Rugby derby,” he added.
“Those are the days I long for. I long for the derby games to be where the best players are playing in South Africa and playing against each other.
“Even the youngsters that are playing this weekend are very excited. For a guy like Cameron Hanekom to play against Eben Etzebeth, Ox Nche, and the Sharks’ Bok backline is a great challenge and measurement for him.”
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