White wants Loftus to be a fortress for the Bulls in the URC
“Away games are like bonuses and home games are non-negotiable."
Bulls director of rugby Jake White wants his team to collect maximum points when they are playing at home. Picture: Gordon Arons/Gallo Images
Judging from the two home matches the Bulls have played so far in the new United Rugby Championship season, they seem determined to make Loftus Versfeld a fortress.
The Bulls began their URC season with a thumping 63-21 win over Welsh side Scarlets in Pretoria. It was a performance that came across as a strong showing at home, but it appears to have been bigger than that.
Jake White’s side then went on an overseas tour where they picked up two wins and lost the other two games.
Last weekend they returned to Loftus for their second home game this season, taking on Connacht. They dispatched the Irish province with ease, thanks to seven tries.
Winning home games and local derbies are a recipe for success in the regular season in the URC.
The Bulls know that if they are to place themselves in a comfortable position at the business end of the cross-continental competition, they need to secure home victories, and points coming from away games will be bonuses.
“This is a time where you’re putting the building blocks for the back end of the competition,” White said in his post-match press conference.
“You need to win your home games and away games; away games are like bonuses and home games are non-negotiable.
“When you look at the record it’s about a 65% chance of winning your home games across the board. So any away win you get is a bonus; that’s why when Connacht don’t get a bonus point, they get disappointed because every point you can get away from home is like gold.”
Area of improvement: defence
The Bulls are in third place on the URC points table with 20 points. The Pretoria-based side have played well in the six rounds of the competition.
An area that White wants to see his side improve on, however, is their defence because it has been suspect at times this term.
“Our attack is getting better and better. The Sharks last week lost 13-12 to Connacht, and we scored over 50 points against them. It just shows you how tough it is to score against Connacht,” he said.
“The one area we need to work hard on from a cohesive point of view is our defence accuracy. It’s not a lack of effort, it’s not the fact that the players are not trying, it’s just that sometimes we are not as accurate as we need to be.”
On Saturday the Bulls will be hoping to continue with their impressive home form when they welcome the Sharks to Loftus for a URC round seven encounter.