Vodacom Bulls coach Jake White will make sure his side understands the privilege of playing in an emotional final outing at Newlands this weekend.
The Bulls will travel to the Western Cape to face Western Province in their opening match of the Currie Cup on Saturday evening.
The outcome of this contest will be significant in deciding who finishes top of the Currie Cup log. The Bulls are currently four points ahead of Western Province in first place with points carried over from Super Rugby Unlocked.
However, the match will also be significant for another special reason – it could be the last time the two old rivals play a North-South derby at Newlands, with Western Province set to move to Cape Town Stadium after the end of the Currie Cup in 2021.
Of course, this will depend on where Western Province and the Bulls finish in the final standings as the two teams could face each other in the playoffs, but that won’t make Saturday’s encounter any less special for White.
‘It’s obviously going to be a very emotional outing,’ White said after his side claimed the Super Rugby Unlocked title. ‘I would never have thought, a couple of months ago, that I’m going to be at Newlands for the last time.
‘Obviously, taking nothing away from the fact that we might still play in a playoff against them, but that is not in our hands. The reality is what we know it could be the last time we play there.
‘The players must appreciate the fact that it’s an unbelievable opportunity and privilege for them to actually play their last game at Newlands. I’ll put a premium on that, because it’s like playing at Lansdowne Road, which is the oldest ground. You play at Newlands, the second-oldest ground. It’s a wonderful thing for a young player.’
White, himself, has very special memories of Newlands, mostly from his time as Springbok head coach.
‘I’ve always enjoyed Newlands. I think about it a lot,’ he added. ‘I was a young coach when I coached the Boks against the All Blacks there in 2005 and beat them [22-16]. We also played a strong Ireland there in 2004 and beat them [to win the series 2-0]. We also played Australia in 2007, when Frans Steyn kicked those two drop goals, and we beat them.’
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