Jake White conceded that his men were beaten by the better team in the quarter-finals and vowed to make the personnel changes required to ensure the Vodacom Bulls will be better next season.
The Vodacom Bulls’ United Rugby Championship campaign came to an end in the final eight after a defeat to the Stormers at a packed Cape Town Stadium on Saturday night.
Reacting to the loss, White was unhappy about the inconsistency of the match officials, but conceded that the Stormers were the better team and gave his charges kudos for staying in the battle after going 17-0 down in the first half.
Looking at the season as a whole, White said that while the Vodacom Bulls finished the round-robin stage as top point-scorers, he still felt that something was missing in the squad and promised that he would work hard to make sure they are far better next season.
“When I reflect on the URC, that’s the one thing I see we are probably lacking, a couple of x-factor guys,” said White. “Maybe next season we will do a bit of recruiting, get those guys to open the game up a bit. Thats’s our work on, that’s what I said to the players.
“I guarantee that we will get it right, that we will work hard and by this time next year we will be a much better team from the lessons we learned in this campaign.
“There are a lot of things I think we can still improve on. We will get it right. We will have big debrief about what we need. I am lucky to be at an organisation that will buy into that.
“If we need to find x-factor players, then we will find them. If we need to change our pre-season training, we are going to have to find a way to prepare our team to win a URC. We aren’t there yet, but we will get there. We will get it right.
“The Stormers are the benchmark,” added White. “With all due respect to Connacht, it will take a massive effort to fly down and beat them, so it’s likely that they will be in the final for a second year in a row.
“The model is simple, not saying that it’s easy to get. They have a good scrum, efficient lineout, strong defence and when Manie’s kicking well at goal, it becomes so difficult to catch up once they get scoreboard pressure.
“I need to find who we need to have that x-factor, good set-piece and have that style. It’s obviously something that works in this competition.”
White also said that changes were already underway to shake up the Vodacom Bulls coaching staff.
“There will be a massive amount of changes. It’s just time for change. Some of the guys have been with us for a long, long time. If I read rugby news, there are lots of changes at the other clubs. We are probably in line for changes, that brings new energy and new ideas. Taking nothing away from the guys who have been here for a long time.
“We probably need something different. That’s part of my promise to the players to get it right. I am already in the process of getting those things in place. I know when I walk in at pre-season, there will be a wow factor.”
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