Durban - Sharks director of rugby Jake White
has warned his Springbok-laden outfit not to underestimate the Bulls in their Super Rugby opener at Kings Park on Saturday.
Many pundits have predicted the Sharks to be the flagship South African team this year and not many are predicting a Bulls victory on Saturday, especially with the Pretoria outfit having lost a number of key players in the last year.
But White said it is vital that they stay grounded and learn to handle the favourites tag.
“Let’s be fair, the Bulls are the most successful Super franchise in South Africa and they aren’t going to come here and hand over what we want,” White told the Sharks website
“It’s a derby game, the first game of the tournament for both sides and a lot of media hype about the fact that we have this talented squad. I think it’s going to be a very interesting game, an eye-opener for South African rugby.
“It’s unique for this group and not many South African sides get given the favourites’ tag. In fact, in a lot of ways, South Africans like to be the underdog, both internationally as well as at a franchise level. That’s just the way it is and one thing I’ve chatted to the players about is reputations. Reputations mean nothing, it doesn’t matter what people think and it doesn’t matter how many Springboks you have, you’re not going to win with reputations.
“I’m not trying to play down the fact that we have a talented squad - we have - but the challenge is making sure that everything is aligned. So that the way we train and the way we prepare and the way we play underline the fact that we are favourites and are talented and have a good team.”
The clash kicks off at 19:10 on Saturday.