Jake White hopes Munster can beat Northampton after Bulls’ nine-try rout of Lyon

Embrose Papier grabbed two tries and was sharp around the rucks in the Bulls’ thrashing of Lyon at Loftus Versfeld yesterday. Photo: BackpagePix

Embrose Papier grabbed two tries and was sharp around the rucks in the Bulls’ thrashing of Lyon at Loftus Versfeld yesterday. Photo: BackpagePix

Published Apr 7, 2024


To see the Bulls score nine tries and 59 points against Lyon in a Champions Cup last-16 clash – especially after taking 47 last week – was “very pleasing” for Jake White at Loftus Versfeld yesterday.

But he’s doing something else today: shouting for Munster in their playoff against Northampton (1.30pm SA time kickoff), and then hoping the Pretoria side won’t have to travel to England.

That will be their reality if Northampton win today, while a Munster victory will see the Champions Cup quarter-final at Loftus next weekend.

“Geez, I’m going to wear red the whole day! Especially because I haven’t got any travel arrangements from SA Rugby,” White said yesterday.

“Last time we went to Leinster, we had to fly on eight different aeroplanes – and I suppose it’s going to be the same (if the Bulls face Northampton in England).

“I haven’t got any flight details yet ,so either they didn’t think we are going to win, or they waited until the last minute to book those flights – it’s frustrating, it’s really frustrating.

“I think SA Rugby are probably shouting for Munster, because then they won’t be exposed on flights out of here...

“Who books a holiday or travel abroad on a Sunday at four o’clock when you want to leave that week to go to a game with 40 people?”

And in another peculiar scenario, if the Bulls face Munster at Loftus, the match will be played next Sunday – but if they have to travel away to Northampton, the game will take place on Saturday night.

In addition, there are no guarantees of direct flights from Johannesburg to London either, even though the Champions Cup – unlike the URC – does make provision for such arrangements.

Asked by Independent Newspapers if the schedule should be the other way around, White said: “Surely! It can be direct flights if there are seats available, but if you wait until Sunday night to take 40 guys to get a flight directly to London, it’s highly unlikely that you’re going to get it.

“So yes, the ideal world is that everyone should fly from Joburg to London, and from London, take a bus to Northampton. And after the game, London to Joburg so that we are ready for our next URC game – you’re 100 percent right. That surely should’ve happened.”

The Bulls scored some thrilling tries yesterday against an outclassed Lyon outfit, as they found their rhythm on attack and were much more solid in defence, even though they conceded three tries.

All three came in strange circumstances, with scrumhalf Martin Page-Relo taking a quick tap penalty and scoring without the referee blowing his whistle beforehand, while Canan Moodie received a yellow card and conceded a penalty try for a high tackle on Page-Relo – while Willie le Roux had a kick charged-down in the Bulls 22, and Lyon fullback Thaakir Abrahams picked up the loose ball.

“You want a rebound, and good teams back up a game like last week with a proper performance, a reaction,” White said.

“There were moments there where... some of those tries were outstanding.

“I was happy, but I also thought that sometimes we kicked the ball away – and I couldn’t work out why when we had numbers outside or when we had the opportunity to keep the ball in hand, we opted to grubber it through.

“You saw what happened in the second half when Canan decided he was going through the hole and held onto it, we scored.

“When Kurt-Lee (Arendse) decided to use his footwork and beat guys one-on-one, we scored.

“Even that try (from their tryline, started by Sebastian de Klerk and Arendse) – it’s got to maybe be the try of the season. I know I’m biased, but on our tryline, everyone touched the ball, tight forwards, loose forwards, and then Emmie (Papier) scored under the poles.

— Investec Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) April 6, 2024

“That is also a massive boost for me, because what it says is that we can play in different ways – we can use our backs, and we’ve got to be good enough to use our forwards.”


Bulls 59 – Tries: Sebastian de Klerk (2), Embrose Papier (2), Marcell Coetzee, Ruan Vermaak, Willie le Roux, David Kriel, Chris Smith. Conversions: Johan Goosen (5), Smith (2).

Lyon 19 – Tries: Martin Page-Relo, Penalty Try, Thaakir Abrahams. Conversion: Paddy Jackson (1).