Jake White during the Currie Cup final between Bulls and Sharks.
(Lee Warren/Gallo Images)
- Bulls director of rugby Jake White savoured his inaugural Currie Cup title as a coach, after his team won a thrilling final 26-19 over the Sharks at Loftus on Saturday.
- But even he was taken a little aback at how quickly his team found success after he joined the Bulls during the pandemic.
- White ended the Bulls’ 11-year wait for a Currie Cup title and a decade without silverware.
Bulls director of rugby Jake White savoured his inaugural Currie Cup title as a coach, after his team won a thrilling final 26-19 over the Sharks at Loftus on Saturday.
White, who guided the Springboks to Rugby World Cup success in France in 2007, added the Currie Cup to his glowing trophy cabinet that also includes last year’s Super Rugby Unlocked title.
With this domestic double in the Covid-affected 2020/21 rugby season, the 57-year-old did exactly what he came to Pretoria to do – win trophies.
But even he was a little taken aback at how quickly his team found success, especially considering he started with the Bulls after the pandemic hit.
“Would I have thought about it? Obviously, I would have liked to achieve it but I’m also a realist,” he said.
“Tonight I told the players when we came off the field: ‘Now you know why it’s so tough to win the Currie Cup. We’ve waited 11 years for it and we nearly didn’t win it’.
“I have respect for everybody who’s won it before.
“It’s a tough competition. It’s a really great honour. Schalk Burger and Jean de Villiers, some of the best players I’ve ever coached, never won the Currie Cup.
“I would never have thought we would do but I had always planned on the basis that we could get it right.
“I have massive respect for Sean [Everitt]. He’s won the Currie Cup and he knows how tough it is.
“But, as he said, someone’s got to win and someone’s got to lose.”
His team was 19-9 behind with less than 20 minutes to go before two Arno Botha tries, one in the 63rd minute and another in the 98th, sealed an incredible Bulls fightback.
AS IT HAPPENED | Bulls 26-19 Sharks
White, though, took exception to the tag that he was at Loftus for a short ride and could move on quickly.
The transient nature of his jobs at the Sharks (less than one year) and Brumbies prior to returning to South Africa made some Bulls fans fairly incredulous about how long the affair would last.
White said the labels were unfair.
“I think it’s unfair but people can write and say whatever they like,” said White.
“I’ve got a contract with the Bulls and I work for an incredible organisation.
“The shareholders want to win, I’ve got a great CEO (Edgar Rathbone), and unbelievable young players.
“Take it or leave it. If people are going to surmise and make statements like that, they must do it.”