While the rest of his engagement leading up to the Bulls’ URC match against Benetton in Treviso on Friday evening was measured, Jake White was combative when asked about his team’s shaky overall away record in the tournament to date.
Currently winless on their three-match tour, the men from Loftus have only won three of their eight matches in the northern hemisphere, reviving the long-held belief – dating back to their Super Rugby days – that they simply aren’t an effective touring side.
However, it is a perception cultivated primarily by the media, according to White.
“The media is the one who portrays us as a bad touring team because they keep writing about it,” he explained.
“We don’t discuss it. We never tell each other that we’re a bad touring team.”
With some justification, the former World Cup-winning coach argued that the Bulls’ record should be viewed against the nature of the URC, which certainly suggests that teams in general struggle to win consistently on away soil.
It is debatable whether that sentiment is a ruse to conceal inherent flaws, but it is true.
He also believes that supporters should have faith in his ability to mould teams that enjoy playing abroad.
“When I was with the Brumbies, we had the longest winning streak in Super Rugby away from home.” When I was with the Sharks, we had the best away record.
“What will happen now?” Now I get to the Bulls, and they’re thought to be bad tourists? What is the difference? After all, this is the same coach who works here.
“I don’t think it has anything to do with touring, mindset, or anything else.” What have the last few years been like?
“We will win away games when we improve, understand our opponents better, and develop more depth.” I’m not taking anything away from the boys I’m currently raising. We’re not doing anything different from everyone else.”
Friday’s game begins at 18:30.