South Africa

Bulls wary of Benetton ahead of URC last-eight showdown

Jake White says the Bulls must repeat what they did well in the last game they played against Benetton.

Bulls director of rugby Jake White wants his team to focus on their strengths against Benetton when they meet in a United Rugby Championship quarter-final at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday (3.30pm kick-off).

When these two teams met three weeks ago in the penultimate round of the URC regular season, the Bulls won 56-35 in Pretoria. This time around they will battle it out in a sequel, and that can be a bit tricky.

Heading into Saturday’s game, White said he had to box clever in his preparations as they would be playing a team they recently faced.

“That makes you think a lot about how you’re going to prepare because you’re playing the same players and the same strengths and weaknesses,” White said.

“So you have to box a bit clever on how you do things the second time because they expect something.”

‘Do what you do well’

The 2007 Rugby World Cup winning coach said the Bulls must not change a lot; instead, they must do what they did well in the last game they played against Benetton.

“At the same time, you still have to do what you do well. It’s not a gimmick thing. People think it’s a gimmick – you come out with a play – but one play is not going to win you the game. You’ve still got to do what you do well,” White said.

“If I look at what we did well against them, we almost scored 60 points… but it’s [about] making sure we are tighter on defence.

“We let it slip (in the last match). They needed four tries and they went for it and asked questions of our defence.”

‘We know they can beat us’

Looking at Benetton, White said the players were aware of how their opponents could be dangerous, citing their 2021 Rainbow Cup loss and their second-half display in their last encounter.

“When you look at those games, it’s funny how those lessons help us with our prep,” he said.

“I don’t have to say ‘be careful, they can play’ because they have seen it, or ‘be careful, they can beat us’ because they have done it.

“All I have to do is reaffirm that in my team talks all week and say ‘guys, remember, they beat us convincingly in the Rainbow Cup and they played really well in that 20-minute block when we had them dead and buried’. We know we still have to get the job done.”