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By Athenkosi Tsotsi

Sports Reporter

Bulls still alive in the URC, says Jake White

'The priority of playing in these comps is to get to the back end of the comp when you have got knockout rugby.'

Bulls director of rugby, Jake White, has insisted that they are still alive in the United Rugby Championship following their disappointing 27-22 defeat to holders, Munster, on Saturday at Loftus Versfeld.

The Pretoria-based side missed an opportunity to close the gap on URC points table leaders Leinster (54 points) and second-placed Glasgow Warriors (53 points). Instead, they dropped to fourth place with 46 points, with Munster moving to third with 48 points.

‘It hurts that we lost’

The Bulls have set themselves the goal of finishing in the top two at the end of the URC regular season. However, the defeat to Munster has dealt a big blow to those goals. Despite the setback, White says they are not down and out in the competition.

“We’ll regroup on Monday; we are still alive in the comp. I get the feeling people are walking around with their heads down,” White said following the loss to Munster.

“It’s got to hurt that we lost; it’s got to be something we motivate ourselves with for Monday’s training session. We are still alive in the URC.

“The priority of playing in these comps is to get to the back end of the comp when you have got knockout rugby,” he said.

Munster dominated large periods of the game, leading 17-10 at halftime.

White’s charges clawed their way back into the clash in the second half with converted tries from Kurt-Lee Arendse and Johan Grobbelaar to lead 22-17. However, a red card to flyhalf Johan Goosen in the 53rd minute let them down, with Munster scoring two tries through John Hodnett and Conor Murray to win.

Bulls missing trio

The Bulls went into their clash against Munster without the experienced trio of co-captains Ruan Nortje and Marcell Coetzee and Springbok Marco van Staden. Their absence proved to be the difference as Munster were able to rely on all their seasoned professionals.

“You take out Marcell, Marco, Ruan Nortje; all of a sudden we look a little bit young, in terms of game feel and experience. There were times I thought we missed Marcell and Marco for certain things they bring to our squad,” White said.

“They have got experience; you have got the captain of Ireland (Peter O’mahony) playing there, RG Snyman who has won the World Cup twice, a guy like Conor Murray who has played for the British and Irish Lions more than once.”