Bulls boss Jake White demands improvement after Lions scare at Loftus

Bulls boss Jake White demands improvement after Lions scare at Loftus

Despite his team's narrow 30-28 URC victory over the Lions in Pretoria on Saturday, Bulls director of rugby Jake White was not entirely happy with the performance of his charges.

The result moves the Bulls into fourth position on the URC table, while the Lions occupy 10th position in the 16-team competition's standings.

However, things could have been very different for the Bulls as Lions fly-half Jordan Hendrikse was off target with a last-minute penalty.

And White believes there is still plenty of room for improvement from his players.

"I thought our game management at times was poor," he said after the game.

"For all the experience we had at the back it looked like we pulled the trigger too quickly at times, we looked disjointed¦ But obviously there are positives, we were 12-3 down and we came back and were eventually leading 27-18, so I take that as a massive positive because some teams would have been 12-3 down and panicked and probably not got back in the fight.

"But it's not the way we wanted to play; we gave them a try over the top of the lineout - that's seven [points] - we dropped the ball in the in-goal area, that's seven, and the other one we kick long and should have had a chase line.

"I think (winger) Sergeal (Petersen) kicked too quickly, he marked it and I don't know what he was thinking - he's a senior player - he just kicks the ball down the field and (Sanele) Nohamba beats the first line, and they score."

But despite his unhappiness with certain aspects of his team's performance, White was pleased that his side managed to claim their sixth win from nine matches played in the URC.

"I think there's a lot of learnings there, but a win is a win," he added.

"Sometimes you need a bit of luck, sometimes¦ maybe a year ago Hendrikse's kick sails over and we lose the game. Those are the margins and sometimes you need the luck because it can change the outcome of the rest of the season.

"Sometimes you see golfers play and they don't hit every green or fairway and they're on top of the leaderboard, that's similar to what we had today. That wasn't our best performance and we [still] get a win. It is one of those outings where we weren't on top of our game and we got away with it.

"I'm quite relieved: relieved that we were leading at half-time (13-12) after being 12-3 down, relieved that we could stay in the fight until the end there, even though we were lucky that he missed that kick."

The lineout is usually one of the Lions' strengths but they struggled in that aspect of the game at crucial times. However, their scrum put pressure on the Bulls, who were without Springbok props Gerhard Steenekamp and Wilco Louw, and the home side conceded three penalties in that department.

"I wasn't surprised because they've got a good set piece, but I was disappointed with the inconsistency of our group," said White.

"One scrum we were really good and the next one it's almost like we're just doing it on our own. Our lineout was strong, especially when we won that last lineout on their own ball, which just shows that we [were good]."

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