Andy Friend has criticised Bulls head coach Jake White for comments he made about Connacht before their United Rugby Championship encounter.
White was speaking to TG4 before the Bulls’ 34-7 loss to Connacht last Friday, and insinuated that players only moved to Galway in order to get noticed by “bigger” teams.
“A lot of Leinster players who come down from Leinster, obviously the guys that didn’t get contracts there come down here. It’s very similar to a couple of franchises we have in South Africa,” White said.
“When they don’t get contracted by the big unions they go down to the small provinces and then obviously find a way in which they can get noticed by the bigger provinces.”
Andy Friend on Jake White’s comments.
Connacht head coach Friend was speaking at a press conference ahead of his side’s game against the Dragons on Saturday and labelled White’s comments about his team as “ill-informed”.
“No, it’s not isolated and unfortunately people look at Connacht down the end of their nose and don’t really pay us too much respect, which we need to change and we’re aware of that,” he said, via RTÉ.
“I just thought Jake’s comments were ill-informed, to be honest with you. Yes, we have Leinster players, as does every team in the country.
“If you check out Ulster, Munster, they’ve got Leinster players too because that’s where the bulk of the population is in Ireland, it’s in Dublin, so you can only fit a certain amount of players into their squad.”
Can’t. Stop. Watching.
A Try of the Season contender from Mack Hansen on his home debut ?
— Connacht Rugby (@connachtrugby) October 4, 2021
Connacht dominated the Bulls despite the South African side’s status.
Connacht certainly had the last laugh over White and the Bulls, as they responded to an early try from Lizo Gqoboka to score 34 unanswered points to claim a bonus-point victory.
The Bulls are historically a more successful side than Connacht, having won three Super Rugby titles as well as 25 domestic Currie Cups titles in South Africa, but they proved to be no match for their opponents in Galway.
White’s side have yet to register a point in the URC, having also suffered a heavy loss to Leinster in the opening round of the competition, despite having established themselves as the best team in South Africa in recent years.
Connacht suffered a disappointing loss to Cardiff in their opening fixture, but should they play like they did against the Bulls more often they could go far in this season’s URC.