Jake: These Bulls are not babies

Wed, 12 Feb 2014 14:04
Large jake white mic Large anthony and white.jpg630 Large jake white sharks media

Sharks Director of Rugby Jake White has again moved to play down expectations ahead of his team's first Super Rugby match.

Sharks Director of Rugby Jake White has again moved to play down expectations ahead of his team's first Super Rugby match.

The Sharks host the Bulls in the opening round in Durban on Saturday, with most pundits expecting an 'easy' win for the men from Durban.

Having lost more than 20 senior players in 2013 - including players like Springboks Chiliboy Ralepelle, Juandré Kruger, Dewald Potgieter, Jacques Potgieter, Jano Vermaak, Wynand Olivier, Lionel Mapoe, Zane Kirchner and perhaps the biggest loss of all Morné Steyn - the Bulls have been written off as a serious threat to the star-studded Sharks outfit.

However, White was quick to point to the perils of underestimating the opposition, especially a team with the traditions and success that come with the Bulls.

"People wrote the Bulls off last year - when Victor Matfield, Danie Rossouw, Fourie du Preez and Bakkies Botha had all left - and many thought it was the end of an era and their dominance in South Africa," White said in an interview on the Sharks website.

"Yet they finished top of the South African conference and made the semifinals. Who would have thought that?

"So it would be very wrong for us to think this is going to be a one-sided affair," the shrewd World Cup-winning former Bok coach said.

He also pointed out that despite the big names in his team, they will be challenged throughout the 2014 campaign.

White used the Cheetahs as another example of a team that was written off before the season, but finished in the top six last year - ahead of the Sharks.

"Last year no-one gave the Cheetahs a chance and they ended up making the play-offs as well," the Sharks mentor said.

"There is no doubt that South African rugby is strong. I've always said that.

"That is why we're taking nothing for granted against the Bulls this week and will take that attitude right through to the end of the tournament."

Playing the Bulls in their first game is a great way to start the tournament, but importantly, getting off to a winning start sets the tone early on.

"It is crucial to start well," White said.

"It is also a home game. People have always spoken about the fact that you have to win your home games to give yourself a chance."

The arrival of former Bulls age-group coach Paul Anthony as an assistant coach at the Sharks will be an interesting sideshow at Kings Park.

"He [Anthony] knows all their plays, he knows all their calls," White said, adding: "It will be interesting to see if the Bulls are one step ahead and have changed things.

"That's the world of professional sport - you bring in a guy like Paul who has coached all their juniors and they have this model where everyone plays the same way, even the line-out calls or set moves.

"They have these as a common theme through the franchise at all levels. It will be interesting to see, with Paul's input, whether the Bulls will be aware of that."

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 24 February 2017
Highlanders v Chiefs 06h35 Dunedin
Reds v Sharks 09h00 Brisbane
Harlequins v Leicester Tigers 17h45 Twickenham Stoop
Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues 19h05 Myreside
Dragons v Leinster 19h30 Rodney Parade
Munster v Scarlets 19h35 Thomond Park
Sat, 25 February 2017
Sunwolves v Hurricanes 04h15 Tokyo
Crusaders v Brumbies 06h35 Christchurch
Waratahs v Force 08h45 Allianz Park
Saracens v Sale Sharks 12h45 Allianz Park
Northampton Saints v Worcester Warriors 13h00 Franklin's Gardens
Exeter Chiefs v Newcastle Falcons 13h00 Sandy Park
Cheetahs v Lions 13h05 Bloemfontein
Scotland v Wales 14h25 BT Murrayfield
Kings v Jaguares 15h15 Port Elizabeth
Ireland v France 16h50 Aviva Stadium
Stormers v Bulls 17h30 Cape Town
Sun, 26 February 2017
Bristol v Bath 11h00 Ashton Gate
Treviso v Connacht 12h30 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Wasps v Gloucester 12h30 Ricoh Arena
Zebre v Ulster 12h30 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors 13h05 Liberty Stadium
England v Italy 15h00 Twickenham Stadium
Mon, 27 February 2017
UCT-Ikeys v Maties 14h45 Cape Town
CUT-Ixias v UJ 16h30 Bloemfontein
Rhodes v Fort Hare 16h30 Grahamstown
CPUT v UKZN-Impi 16h30 Cape Town
UWC v TUT 16h30 Cape Town
UP-Tuks v Wits 16h30 Pretoria
Shimlas v NWU-Pukke 17h00 Bloemfontein
Thu, 02 March 2017
Force v Reds 10h30 Perth
RESULT SCORE
Thu, 23 February 2017
Rebels v Blues 18 | 56
Tue, 21 February 2017
CUT-Ixias v Shimlas 13 | 22
Mon, 20 February 2017
UJ v UP-Tuks 18 | 11
UKZN-Impi v Fort Hare 16 | 10
Maties v NMMU-Madibaz 35 | 16
UWC v Rhodes 88 | 8
TUT v WSU 13 | 17
NWU-Pukke v UCT-Ikeys 20 | 15
Sun, 19 February 2017
Newcastle Falcons v Northampton Saints 46 | 31
Sale Sharks v Wasps 34 | 28
Sat, 18 February 2017
Connacht v Dragons 14 | 9
Ospreys v Munster 23 | 25
Leicester Tigers v Bristol 50 | 17
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 37 | 17
Bath v Harlequins 22 | 12
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 0 0 0 0 0
Waratahs 0 0 0 0 0
Reds 0 0 0 0 0
Force 0 0 0 0 0
Rebels 1 0 0 1 0
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Blues 1 1 0 0 5
Hurricanes 0 0 0 0 0
Highlanders 0 0 0 0 0
Chiefs 0 0 0 0 0
Crusaders 0 0 0 0 0
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 0 0 0 0 0
Bulls 0 0 0 0 0
Cheetahs 0 0 0 0 0
Sunwolves 0 0 0 0 0
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 0 0 0 0 0
Sharks 0 0 0 0 0
Jaguares 0 0 0 0 0
Kings 0 0 0 0 0