Super Rugby
White plays down Sharks' 'favourites' tag
February 10, 2014
The Brumbies' Jake White before Super Rugby round two, Melbourne Rebels v Brumbies, Super Rugby, AAMI Park, Melbourne, February 22, 2013
Former Brumbies coach Jake White will be well versed on his Australian opponents © Getty Images

New Sharks coach Jake White has had to give his players a reminder that reputations matter for little before a season has started.

Expectations by local fans are that the Sharks are set for a big year, but realising they are up against the Bulls in the opening game at the weekend has caused White to temper the mood with some reality, according to

"Let's be fair, the Bulls are the most successful Super franchise in South Africa and they aren't just going to come down here and hand over what we want from them," he said.

There has been a lot of media hype about the talent in the Sharks squad but White reminded followers that it was a 'derby game', and the first game of the tournament in which both sides would be wanting to impress.

"I think it's going to be a very interesting game, an eye-opener for South African rugby," White said. "We are in a unique situation in that many seem to be making us favourites, and not many South African sides get the favourites tag. In fact, in a lot of ways, South Africans like to be the underdog, both at international and franchise level."

However, White warned his side that reputations meant nothing.

"It doesn't matter what people think and it doesn't matter how many Springboks you have, you're just not going to win through reputations," he said.

"The good thing about the warm-up game against the Lions was that we got through it without any injuries while doing the things we set out to do very well. That gives you confidence and is the point of these pre-season games," he said.

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