Jake White betting on Bulls winning at Benetton

Jake White betting on Bulls winning at Benetton

When the Bulls last visited Stadio Monigo, it was under quite different circumstances than Friday’s United Rugby Championship match against Benetton (6.30pm SA time kickoff).

In June of last year, the Pretoria team had just won the Currie Cup and had lost some of its key players to the Springboks.

They then had to travel from the capital of South Africa to Treviso and likely believed they would easily defeat an Italian club side.

In contrast, they were humiliated by a score of 35-8 in the Rainbow Cup final on a scorching European summer day.

And one of their South Africans, former Stormers scrumhalf Dewaldt Duvenage, led the way with a dominant display as the Bulls withered under the sun.

Now, though, Jake White’s squad reached the URC final last season and has won its first three matches this season.

They traveled to Glasgow and Munster over the past two weeks, but are hoping to avoid another “ambush” on Friday in Treviso.

“I hope so: I hope that what we received last time will not be repeated. Here, the temperature is nice and the sun is shining, which is really different from other places. In Munster and Glasgow, it rained virtually every day and was bitterly cold, so the climate was distinct. The greatest (Benetton) team has been selected, and all of their international players will be playing this weekend,” White stated on Thursday from Italy.

“Their crowd is filled with incredible fervor. They have also spoken extensively about how they defeated us in the championship game, so now we have another opportunity to learn from that. We cannot alter the outcome of the last game.

“So, I’m not sure… I can only respond after the fact. I hope we are wise enough as a group to realize we won’t make the same mistake.

“But to their credit. They are not as impoverished as many believe. Those days of coming here and playing Italian teams, thinking it’s a five-pointer, and then packing up and going home no longer exist. They are a strong, well-coached team.

“Nineteen of this team will play for Italy against South Africa, Australia, and Samoa during the next month. This is the type of experience they will get.

“That is the only thing that we lack. You guys asked me during the entire press conference about (Johan) Goosen, who is the only Springbok who can play Test rugby the next week after being out for 11 months. When discussing the Sharks and Stormers, fifteen men are involved.

Ireland selected 14 Munster players for the fall internationals last week, and the same is true for Glasgow.

Goosen (concussion) and wing Cornal Hendricks (groin) have already returned to South Africa, allowing Chris Smith and David Kriel to assume the flyhalf and right wing positions, respectively.

Smith will attempt to make apologies after a nightmare performance in the previous match in Treviso, while White has added bite to the pack.

In a revamped front row, veteran hooker Bismarck du Plessis will lead the physical assault, while Marco van Staden and skipper Marcell Coetzee will attempt to slow down Benetton’s possession.

The Bulls are a prideful team that will not want to end their European tour with three consecutive losses. Friday is the day for them to demonstrate how badly they want it…


Benetton: 15 Giacomo da Re 14 Ignacio Mendy 13 Ignacio Brex 12 Marco Zanon 11 Mattia Bellini 10 Tomas Albornoz 9 Dewaldt Duvenage (captain) 8 Lorenzo Cannone 7 Michele Lamaro 6 Manuel Zuliani 5 Federico Ruzza 4 Scott Scrafton 3 Simone Ferrari 2 Giacomo Nicotera 1 Ivan Nemer.

Replacements: 16 Gianmarco Lucchesi 17 Thomas Gallo 18 Tiziano Pasquali 19 Niccolo Cannone 20 Toa Halafihi 21 Manfredi Albanese 22 Tommaso Menoncello 23 Marcus Watson.

Bulls: 15 Kurt-Lee Arendse 14 David Kriel 13 Stedman Gans 12 Harold Vorster 11 Wandisile Simelane 10 Chris Smith 9 Embrose Papier 8 Elrigh Louw 7 Marco van Staden 6 Marcell Coetzee (captain) 5 Ruan Nortje 4 Janko Swanepoel 3 Francois Klopper 2 Bismarck du Plessis 1 Gerhard Steenekamp.

Replacements: 16 Jan-Hendrik Wessels 17 Simphiwe Matanzima 18 Mornay Smith 19 Walt Steenkamp 20 WJ Steenkamp 21 Zak Burger 22 Morné Steyn 23 Stravino Jacobs.

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