Jake White on the moment he realised that Glasgow Warriors just don’t go away

Good and bad news on injury front for Bulls

Jake White has experienced most things in a coaching career that has included guiding the Springboks to World Cup glory so he is unlikely to be fazed by his Bulls side taking on Glasgow Warriors in Saturday’s United Rugby Championship final.

He is wary, however, of his opponents’ staying power. White’s Bulls got the better of Glasgow when the sides met at Loftus Versfeld in May but the coach had to watch as his team’s 37-10 lead was whittled down to six points during an extraordinary comeback by the visitors who scored three unanswered tries in an eight-minute spell in the final quarter.

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While it may not have been enough to win, it did secure Glasgow two bonus points which kept them top of the league and served as a useful reminder to White of the importance of finishing teams off when the chance presents itself.

“One thing we did take away from that game is that we had the foot on their throats but dropped the ball when we could have been 40 points – David Kreil went through a hole on their 22 and tried to offload but the ball went to ground – and I think what we then realised that Glasgow just don’t go away,” said White.

“So, he takeout is that we won’t underestimate, and that even though we were on top of them for a long period of time, we still had to work hard to finish off that game. And I think that is something which is going to be good for us as a group because we won’t go in there thinking it is going to be one-sided.”

When the teams reconvene at Loftus Versfeld for Saturday’s grand final there will be more than double the number of supporters inside the famous ground. The URC’s showpiece is a 50,000 sell-out, not bad considering tickets went on sale on Monday. The hosts will go into the final without their influential full-back Willie le Roux who has been ruled out through concussion. The better news for the Bulls is that Kurt-Lee Arendse will make his return on the left wing. It’s a speedy comeback by the Springbok who fractured a bone in his face during the quarter-final win over Benetton. The injury required surgery and Arendse had a metal plate inserted but he returns in a reshuffled back three which sees Devon Williams move from wing to full-back to cover le Roux’s absence.

Arendse is expected to take to the field in a face mask, with White likening the situation to Antoine Dupont's at the Rugby World Cup when the France captain played in the quarter-final against South Africa with a cheek fracture.

Kurt-Lee Arendse scored a try but was also injured in the Vodacom Bulls' URC quarter-final win over Benetton. He returns for the final.  (Photo by Steve Haag Sports/INPHO/Shutterstock)Kurt-Lee Arendse scored a try but was also injured in the Vodacom Bulls' URC quarter-final win over Benetton. He returns for the final.  (Photo by Steve Haag Sports/INPHO/Shutterstock)
Kurt-Lee Arendse scored a try but was also injured in the Vodacom Bulls' URC quarter-final win over Benetton. He returns for the final. (Photo by Steve Haag Sports/INPHO/Shutterstock)

“The doctor was impressed and really happy with how Kurt-Lee has recovered,” said White. “Obviously you can’t target anyone’s head - it’s actually illegal to play, a guy around his head - so there’s no fear of anything other than the fact that he wants to be a part of it. Doctor says he’s happy, specialist says he’s happy. To have him back, especially because we’re losing a guy with Willie’s experience, is fantastic for us.”

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