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Jake: Brumbies need a better bench

Sat, 03 Aug 2013 18:56
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That's a lesson I learnt
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Brumbies coach Jake White admitted he will have to add more depth to his squad if their are going to end a nine-year Super Rugby drought in Canberra.

White, speaking after his tea,'s heartbreaking 22-27 loss to the Chiefs in the Final in Hamilton on Saturday, said the depth of the Chiefs squad was a key factor in the outcome of the contest.

It was the confidence the Chiefs substitutions played with that was hard to contain.

When an All Black like scrumhalf Tawera Kerr-Barlow was taken off and his replacement Augustine Pulu produced spark, or when they changed their centre it was crucial, he said.

White was reluctant to make changes because he felt he needed calm heads who could handle the pressure.

"That's a lesson I learnt," the World Cup-winning former Springbok coach said.

"It just reaffirmed for me that we are going to have to get a stronger bench and make sure that bench understands the pressures that come with it [the role of substitutes].

"We have to make sure that if I put them on with 20 to go I will get a return," he added.

White said it was no fault of the players.

"It is just the situation we find ourselves in with the squad.

"The Chiefs had shown the value of depth in their squad. They had players injured who were not even available, but had still won and that was all credit to them."

The Brumbies coach spoke of an emotional rollercoaster through the semifinals - when they came from behind and scored a match-winning try in the 79th minute against the Bulls in Pretoria - and into the final.

While they went into the last quarter with a 10-point [22-12] lead, White always felt the pressure was going to come.

The fact the side hadn't benefited from a pick-and-go try that was not given due to a lack of evidence might have made the difference in the end.

"Had we converted [that try], maybe that would have been the end," the Brumbies mentor said.

He paid credit to the Chiefs for pulling off the victory in the final quarter.

"They showed why they are a championship team, they showed why they won last year and they showed why they came first [were on top of the standings] this year as well."

He spoke of the pride of having taken the team from no-hopers two years ago, when they finished 13th, to the Final this year.

"Obviously you are a bit heartsore, because you feel you could have won that.

"I could sense, everybody in the stadium felt the Brumbies could score - even when the clock said 79 minutes. I sensed that they believed they could. They were giving it a full crack to the 80th minute and you can't ask for more than that."

White said he feel the Brumbies could go all the way next year.

"It [losing in the Final] is motivation for us," he said, adding: "We missed out on the play-offs last year, this year we lost in the Final.

"Who knows, maybe next year is our year.

"The ride is not over yet, we are two years into a four-year campaign,"

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