Jake White has lauded the impact replacement prop Lizo Gqoboka made in the Bulls’ 43-9 dismantling of the Sharks at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
The Bulls ran in four tries to thump the Sharks and as a result they usurped their victims at the top of the Rainbow Cup table.
The first half was a slugfest, but the Bulls grew in confidence as the match progressed and they hit their peak when White brought his reinforcements off the bench. Of those playing off the bench, Gqoboka and Trevor Nyakane were the pick of the lot. The former in particular was impressive across the park.
Speaking in the post-match press conference, White was full of praise for the two-cap Springbok.
‘The impact Lizo made, that try he scored, was massive,’ White said.
‘Two weeks ago, he did the same, making a break down the short side and then off-loading to Zak Burger for a try that made the game safe.’
‘He’s a great scrummager, so it’s actually great if you can hold off on a guy like him, but we knew Thomas and Ox (Nche) would come hard at us at the set-piece.’
‘That’s why I deliberately swopped the props around at half-time. We knew they were going to make an impact, but some coaches might’ve waited until there were 20 to 30 minutes left before bringing Lizo and Trevor on.
‘I just felt I needed Lizo to play a full half because he’s been playing so well. He’s playing really good rugby and he knows there’s an opportunity for him now since Beast Mtawarira has retired.
‘Hopefully he’ll just get better and stake a claim for the series against the British & Irish Lions.’
Commenting on his side’s overall performance against a Sharks side that had been unbeaten before this fixture, White said the power and precision they played with came close to matching the standards they played with last year.
‘We came close to matching those standards, particularly when you consider we’ve been together for a year now and the Sharks have been so for even longer,’ said White.
‘It’s nice to see that at least we’ve built on where we were a year ago. It was a fine performance, the backs played well and the forwards were immense.
‘We kept the Sharks, who are a great attacking side, try-less. The investment made by our coaches are now delivering returns.
‘It was a bit frustrating in the first half, we weren’t great. But I’m really proud of how we finished things.’
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