Ken Borland
Sports Journalist
2 minute read
22 Nov 2020
2:13 pm

Bulls coach Jake White ‘excited and relieved’ after waking sleeping giant

Ken Borland

"Seven months ago you would have said we had no chance, so it's a massive relief and the players will gain confidence from this."

The Bulls celebrate after securing their first major title in a decade. Picture: Gallo Images

Winning the franchise’s first senior silverware in a decade will make their fans and the golden generation of players that featured in the “glory years” very happy, Bulls coach Jake White hopes, following their 21-5 win over the Pumas to clinch the Super Rugby Unlocked title at Loftus Versfeld at the weekend.

It is the first trophy the Bulls have won since they claimed the third of their Super Rugby crowns in 2010, which had ended a decade of dominance that saw them also win five (one shared) Currie Cup titles.

White said it had been a definite goal to win the first competition the team played in since he was appointed director of rugby in Pretoria.

“It’s fantastic for the whole union because we have not won a senior trophy in 10 years, so there’s a lot of excitement and relief,” White said after the on-field presentation of the cup.

“Obviously we’re very happy that the fans now have something to be proud of and I think the guys who played in the glory years will also be very happy to see a new, young group win something. Hopefully winning creates a habit.

“We have the opportunity to win two trophies this season and we were fully aware that we are the only South African franchise to have won Super Rugby, and we did not want to allow any other team on to that trophy.

“Seven months ago you would have said we had no chance, so it’s a massive relief and the players will gain confidence from this.”

Jake White

Jake White with the trophy after his team’s Super Rugby Unlocked victory. Picture: Gallo Images

The attention now shifts to the Currie Cup, with the Bulls taking a four-point lead into that competition if, as expected, points are shared in the matches that were not played due to Covid-19.

White, who was the Springbok coach between 2004 and 2007, will want to usher in the same sort of era of dominance at Loftus.

“I’m very happy personally to have won the first tournament since my appointment here,” he said.

“I signed on the basis that the Bulls are a sleeping giant. They are one of the best franchises in the world – the Liverpool or Man United of South African rugby.

“That’s one of the reasons I came here – to win some silverware – and there is a long-term plan.

“These are new players and there are things we still need to get right, but it takes time and I can’t pick the same team week after week.

“Now in the first three weeks of the Currie Cup we play against the next three teams below us on the log – Western Province, Free State and the Sharks – and we now have four away games, which will be a leveller. So now we have to win away from home.”

For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.