White: Everitt told me ‘go win it for South Africa’

Jake White says the Bulls cannot wait to test themselves against a different opponent as they head towards the Rainbow Cup North vs South final against Benetton Treviso on 19 June.

The final will be played at the home ground of shock Rainbow Cup northern hemisphere winners Benetton in northeastern city Treviso.

Benetton received four points when final-round opponents the Ospreys from Wales could not host them this weekend after three of their squad tested positive for Covid-19.

The Italians moved to 22 points from five matches, and out of the reach of runners-up Munster with the Glasgow Warriors third.

Captained by South African scrumhalf Dewaldt Duvenage, Benetton will be underdogs in the first competitive match between a European club and a top South African franchise.

When coronavirus spread across the world last year, the New Zealand and Australian franchises abandoned Super Rugby in favour of domestic and Trans-Tasman competitions.

The Bulls, Sharks and the other leading South African franchises, the Stormers and Lions, turned to Europe and the Rainbow Cup is a prelude to them playing ‘Pro16’ rugby next season.

In the local Rainbow Cup SA, the Bulls ultimately finished nine log points ahead of the rest of the South African sides, having emphatically booked their berth against Benetton with a 34-22 win over the Sharks on Saturday.

‘This isn’t about reward,’ said White after the match.

‘It’s an exciting occasion for the whole of South Africa. Everyone is just keen to see a different type of game to the local derbies. We’ve had to play each other many times.

‘I just saw [Sharks coach] Sean Everitt downstairs and he told me: “Go win it for South Africa”. The reality is that everyone just wants to see something different. We have a great chance to play in Europe for the first time and we want to measure ourselves against the best in competition.

‘We want to see where we compare to the only team that’s been unbeaten in this tournament.’

– Additional reporting by AFP

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Craig Lewis