South Africa

Bulls mentor Jake White hails impact of Bok quartet

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Canan Moodie, Kurt-Lee Arendse, Willie le Roux and Marco van Staden showcased their class.

Bulls director of rugby Jake White has hailed the impact of his four Springbok Rugby World Cup winners in their 27-17 win over Saracens in the Champions Cup on Saturday.

Loftus Versfeld was treated to a spectacular match that involved two powerhouses of rugby, with the Bulls coming out on top after a pulsating encounter.

There were international stars on show on both sides in Pretoria, with Saracens fielding the likes of  Owen Farrell, Maro Itoje, Jamie George, Elliot Daly and Argentina’s Juan Martin Gonzalez.

And the visitors rightly fancied their chances ahead of the match, but the Bulls held their own, scoring three tries through David Kriel, Janko Swanepoel and Canan Moodie plus 12 points from Johan Goosen’s boot to secure the win.

Boks stars shine

In a star-studded game, the Bulls’ World Cup winners Moodie, Kurt-Lee Arendse, Willie le Roux and Marco van Staden showcased their class and the difference international players can make in big games.

“Twenty internationals for Saracens, and we have four World Cup winners, and you saw the impact they made,” said a delighted and proud White after the match.

“Canan was outstanding, Kurt-Lee was outstanding, and Marco is playing as well as he can and then there’s Willie le Roux. Every time they kicked, he was at the right place, he made the right decisions, yeah, and he lost the ball once or twice in the tackle.

“But his understanding of how we want to play and what we want to do on the field, it’s like we have a coach there … I can see the way he talks to everybody and it’s massive for us.”

‘We learned a lot’

The win capped off an impressive three-game winning streak at home for the Bulls which started with a 53-27 win over Connacht and a 44-10 demolition of the Sharks in the URC.

White believed the victory over Saracens would boost the team’s confidence.

“This group that played tonight (Saturday) have beaten Connacht here, they beat the Sharks convincingly, and now they have beaten Saracens,” said the veteran coach.

“When you’re winning, and there’s confidence and people are enjoying their rugby, that has a domino effect. I do not doubt that this will hold us in good stead for other big games.

“We learned a lot from this game too; the way they defended their try-line at the end to not give us a bonus point shows the quality of the group they have. If you want to be the champions and play at this level, even on your bad day you have got to be as ruthless as they were at the end.”

The Bulls are next up against French side Lyon, away, this Saturday.