Following round 9 of the 2022/23 Vodacom United Rugby Championship clash between the Vodacom Bulls and Cardiff Rugby at Loftus Versfeld stadium, the two respective Directors of Rugby addressed the media, reflecting on the game.
This is what they had to say:
Jake White – Vodacom Bulls, Director of Rugby
On the victory and whether there is room for improvement: “In the first half we struggled for rhythm from two phases and they managed to slow the game. Our chat at the break was maybe to stay up a bit longer and that helped,”
“The result may suggest the game was easy but it was not,”
“I am pleased with the way we defended, making sure we did not allow them to any gain line. It’s pleasing to see a game like that,”
“Let’s not forget this side beat Munster at the beginning of the season, the double over a strong Sharks and Stormers, so the players knew what they need to do in order to get the victory.”
Speaking on having the Vodacom Bulls Springbok players, White said: “It is so nice to play knowing we have the likes of Canan Moodie in the side. Him and Kurt-Lee understand each other so well and the more they play together, the better they will be as a pair,”
“Every time they [opponents] kick the ball and every time Canan or Kurt-Lee catch it, you just sense that something is going to happen. Now surround them with the likes of Harold, Hendricks and Goosen, you know it’s going to be special,”
“They did that tonight with a relatively short time, so the more they play and train together, the better they will be.”
Speaking on Johan Goosen’s impact tonight and his talents, Jake said: “Goosen hasn’t played much rugby and probably I haven’t given him many opportunities at 10 because of the limited training he has had in that role. We played him at full-back because we needed cover there with the November international break,”
“He is a talented player and the fact that he can play at 10 creates that X factor for us. The more they (Goosen, Moodie, Kurt-Lee) play together the more they will improve and give us,”
The boss also commended Grobbelaar’s return, saying: “he was unbelievable, returning from 8 weeks of injury and made it look like he never left. He was brilliant all around.”
On scoring tries, White said: “If you try a lot and attack a lot, you will make mistakes but I don’t want us to go into our shell. To win this competition you must score a lot of tries and we are scoring a lot of tries. We may have a few things to work on but we are on the right path,” concluded White.
Dai Young – Cardiff Rugby, Director of Rugby
“When we saw the team sheet ahead of the game, we knew it was going to be a tough mission obviously with the quality they’ve got in their team, not only their run on but also their bench,”
“For 38 minutes we were really competitive and we were in the game but that score just before half-time and then the score after half-time really killed the game for us,”
“Once they got two score in front there was only going to be one winner really and it was always going to be a case of us sticking in there and giving it a shot for the last 15 to 20 minutes.
Speaking about playing at altitude, Young said: “the players felt a bit fatigued running up here for 80 minutes but it is something we under spoke about. Their physicality was also a major factor for us and we did well for 38 minutes but we knew it would take more than that to win,”
“The threat was always going to be us running out of juice. We had a lot of young boys out there who hadn’t played a lot of rugby or certainly not against the quality we faced tonight so the scoreboard got away from us but we can take a lot of positives.
“A lot of young boys played against some real quality opposition. The players certainly emptied their tank, not one player came off with anything left and you can’t ask much more than that.
“There was always going to be a draining factor to that, they are a real quality team, playing some good rugby and they have a real good balance between strength, power and size up front with some real pace behind.
“We had a good win last week and this assignment was always going to be a bit tougher because the Bulls are in a better place than the Sharks at this moment in time.
“We certainly didn’t come into the game under the radar after winning last week – it put the Bulls on red alert and we knew that we would be in for a bit of an onslaught for the first 25 minutes, which I thought we handled pretty well.
“We never like losing and the scoreboard got away from us but some of our younger players would have taken a lot out of that and a lot of confidence because you not going to play against a team like that every week.
“We’ve had a successful tour, we’re going back with five points, we’ve blooded a lot of youngsters against one of the best teams in Europe and they are only going to learn and benefit from that.”
“It’s been fantastic. We can’t speak highly enough of the hospitality in South Africa, it has been first-class. The hotels have been top drawer, all the training facilities have been top drawer and playing at two iconic stadiums has been a massive thrill for some of our young players and some of our more experience as well.
“It’s given us a bit of confidence, the Bulls were a bit too much for us tonight but we had a good win last week.
“Two weeks away together always helps with the bonding of the squad and the players have been first class. They emptied the tank.
“Some performances last year, when the scoreboard got away from us there was questioning whether we had the heart and desire to stick in there but that wasn’t the case tonight. We were still fighting and giving it everything we had right until the end.”