Bulls head coach Jake White says the Rainbow Cup final loss to Benetton was a massive wake-up call for the side after they had easily won the South African version of the competition.
Battered and beaten, the Bulls headed back to South Africa licking their wounds after a 35-8 mauling at the hands of Benetton in this past Saturday’s Rainbow Cup final in Treviso after starting as favourites.
For all their dominance on the domestic front, the Bulls were nowhere in this final and were reduced to bystanders from start to finish.
‘To be fair, I’ve enjoyed the highs with players since we won the Super Rugby Unlocked competition, but we mustn’t forget that we don’t have the right to win everywhere,’ White said after the game.
‘Those guys at Benetton may not be household names but they play Test rugby and at home they are a tough side. Small margins are punished and our youngsters felt the pressure for the first time.
‘I don’t enjoy this but we have to find our feet and accept we were convincingly beaten by a well-coached team.’
White was honest in his brutal assessment of his own side, saying they didn’t play well in any phase.
‘I can’t single out any player, and I can’t single out an area we put a stamp down on – whether the set piece or attack, we were a bit short of pace in everything.
‘I am a realist and we have got a winning group but we got it wrong today. You can’t play catch-up rugby in the north. This isn’t local derbies, it is a different level of rugby.’
White added that one bad game doesn’t make this a bad team but the performance was nowhere near what the Bulls expect of themselves.
‘This is a lesson for everybody in the group. We have to take it and by the time we get off the plane and back to Pretoria we will have to have moved on,’ he added.
Photo: Roberto Bregani/Gallo Images/Getty Images