As they prepare to wade their way into turbulent European waters, Bulls coach Jake White says the heavy defeat his team suffered at the hands of the Sharks in Durban was a valuable “learning curve” for his youngsters.
The second-string Bulls emerged from their Kings Park clash at the weekend like up-country visitors battered by the Ballito breakers as they were on the wrong end of a 45-12 scoreline.
“We were a bit inexperienced and it was difficult weather, but if we’re not winning then we’re learning and I’m very chuffed with the way we came back,” White said.
“You’ve got to be proud of the effort and commitment. It could have been a 70-pointer, but we’ll take it as being all part of the learning curve for these guys.
“Overall I’m very happy with the Preparation Series.”
So impressive was the Sharks’ handling in the sodden conditions of a Kings Park swamp in the opening stages that it seemed some voodoo must have been involved.
“I thought it was an outstanding first half-hour and then unfortunately things went a little awry, but they were very difficult conditions – humid and wet – and the guys were very brave with ball in hand,” said Sharks coach Sean Everitt.
“We wanted to play quickly, we moved the ball around and the skill level was very high. Our plan was to up the pace as much as we could.
“There’s a certain style of rugby we want to play and we counter-attacked really well. We did not play much in our own half, but it’s not all about kicking, it’s about getting the balance right and from turnover ball you have about a 10-second window to move the ball, and we managed to move it so quickly.
“Our set-piece also did really well at the start.”