Jake White admitted he was ‘relieved’ the Vodacom Bulls overcame poor game management to snatch a derby victory against the Lions in Pretoria on Saturday. DYLAN JACK reports.
The Vodacom Bulls needed a late, long-range penalty from Johan Goosen and a miss from Lions flyhalf Jordan Hendrikse at the death to claim a 30-28 victory in the Jukskei derby.
Even though the Bulls dominated possession and territory in front of almost 27,000 fans at Loftus Versfeld, they made a litany of errors which the Lions pounced on to stay in the game.
“I thought our game management at times was poor,” White said. “For all the experience we had in the backline, we looked as though we were pulling the trigger too quickly at times. We looked disjointed.
“But there are positives. We were 12-3 down and came back, eventually we were leading 27-18. I take that as a massive positive. Some teams would have panicked and not got back in the fight.
“But this is not the way we want to play. We gave them a try, when they went over the top of the lineout. We dropped the ball near the in-goal area. We kicked long and didn’t have a chase line. Sergeal [Petersen] kicked it too quickly. He marked it and I don’t know what he was thinking. He’s a senior player.
“There’s a lot of learnings there. But a win is a win. Sometimes you need a bit of luck. Maybe a year ago, Hendrikse kicks the ball over and we lose. Those are the margins. This can change the outcome of the rest of the season.”
The win sees the Bulls reclaim fourth place on the Vodacom URC log, having gone into this weekend level in seventh place with the DHL Stormers.
White admitted his side was lucky, but said the younger players would learn from their mistakes going into a crucial run of fixtures.
“Sometimes you see golfers, when they play they don’t hit every green or every fairway and they are still on top of the leaderboard. It’s not our greatest performance and we got a win,” White said.
“It is one of those outings where we weren’t on top of our game, but we got away with that. I do need to reiterate that it was a 21-year-old who stole the last lineout and a 21-year-old who made a mistake by carrying through the line at the end. This is the only way they will learn.
“I am much more relieved. I am relieved about 12-3 down, I am relieved that we were leading at half time, I am relieved that we could stay in the fight at the death, even though we were lucky that they missed that kick.”
Photo: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images