Bulls turn focus to United Rugby Championship after Toulouse defeat

Bulls turn focus to United Rugby Championship after Toulouse defeat

Jake White said the Bulls are fully focused on their United Rugby Championship campaign after they suffered a 33-9 defeat to Toulouse in their Champions Cup round-of-16 on Sunday.

Despite trailing their French opponents 12-6 at half-time, the Bulls lost their defensive shape after the interval and conceded three tries.

That result means the Pretoria-based outfit have now lost six successive matches with their last victory registered on January 14, when they beat Exeter Chiefs at home to advance to the last-16 of the Champions Cup.

White said their main aim now is to reach the URC's play-offs. They are currently in seventh position in that competition's standings - just one place off from the play-off positions and with two matches left in the league phase of the competition, against Zebre Parma and Leinster, on April 15 and 22.

"All I do is read about that," White told Sport24 when asked about his team's poor form.

"It's something we've got to change and it will change. There's no doubt in my mind.

"What's important to understand is, when you enter a competition, if you win the first eight and lose the second eight games and get to the play-offs, you have the same number of chances as the team that wins 16 in a row and gets to the play-offs.

"This is a difficult competition, and we're obviously out of it now, but we've just got to keep working until we can turn the corner on those other ones.

"Anyone can add up [the losses] however they want to. It's irrelevant. The bottom line is that we've got to make the [URC] play-offs.

"That's our main goal now. It's not about how many we've lost or won, how many we could and should have won.

"We've got to make sure that we keep working hard to make sure we get into the playoffs of the competitions that are left."

In Sunday's match against Toulouse, the Bulls managed to reduce the deficit to three points when Chris Smith slotted his penalty early in the second half, but Toulouse soon took control of proceedings and clinched their win courtesy of those tries from Emmanuel Meafou, Matthis Lebel and Thibaud Flament.

"I really don't think there's [more they could have done]," said White.

"They played against a good team. At 12-9, maybe [they were in the fight]. The margins are fine.

"In the second half, we kicked that ball through and it runs into touch and I think Canan or Kurt-Lee would have scored there.

"You need those things to go your way and you need to build pressure, especially if you play away from home.

"There were 16 games of Champions and Challenge Cup rugby and I think almost everyone won their home game except the two teams that were in the Champions Cup that dropped down to the Challenge Cup: Lyon and Clermont."