White: Bulls have to be street-smarter

Vodacom Bulls coach Jake White says his side should have tried to run the clock down in the final 30 seconds of their win over the Stormers on Friday.

The Bulls produced a strong second-half comeback to beat the Stormers 34-29 in a high-intensity clash at Loftus Versfeld on Friday evening, after trailing 20-7 at half time.

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However, the hosts had to hold on in the closing stages as Tim Swiel brought the Stormers to within touching distance with a penalty in the 79th minute. The Stormers were then able to work their way upfield and came within a whisker of stealing a win when No 8 Juarno Augustus went over the tryline, only for him to lose control of the ball in the process of grounding it.

Speaking after the match, White bemoaned that his youthful side got sucked into rushing into the final kick-off and said that they should have tried to run the clock down instead.

‘In perspective, this is called a preparation series. The preparation is for everybody,’ White said. ‘There is no law in rugby that says when a penalty gets kicked over with 36 seconds left that you have to run to the halfway line and kick off.

‘If we are going to prepare to play teams like Munster and Leinster, there is no way that those teams are going to run to the halfway line when there is 36 seconds left and kick the ball to you so that you can come back at them.

‘I understand that we want more ball in play and find a product, but this is also preparation for us as a team. When Glasgow are playing Munster and a South African referee is blowing that game, he is not going to say to them, hurry up.

‘In that context, I want to stress that while we were under the pump at the end, we didn’t have to hurry up and kick off that quickly. We could almost have waited until the hooter went. I have no doubt that then the game would have been over. We have to be mindful of the fact that this is preparation for everybody. It’s not just about running for 38 minutes and making it look like a sevens contest.’

White refused to be drawn into any comment about the referee, adding that the Bulls will learn from the closing stages of Friday’s clash.

‘We just got sucked in. It’s got nothing to do with the officiating. It has got nothing to do with anything other than the fact that we have to be street-smart enough to know that even when we have leaders on the field – senior players – there is no rule that says that we have to sprint to take the kick-off.

‘Within the rules, you have to tell the guys that’s how it is and then the referee must make the decision. A lot of it was the inexperience in our combinations and that will come. It’s much easier to learn those lessons when you are on the right side of the scoreboard.’

Photo: Gordon Arons/Gallo Images

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Dylan Jack