The Vodacom Bulls' Director of Rugby heaped praise on the Rugby World Cup-winning Springbok No 8, with match stats pointing to the good discipline the home side displayed at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

The best plans can be made, but the execution on the field remains crucial, White explained.

“Duane knows when certain things are working, and you have to trust him – especially as it is the captain who takes over on a Saturday. You must not underestimate what a good captain means,” White said.

“He was excellent in how he handled everything. The manner in which he spoke to his team was key. It is fantastic that the captain can maintain calm and speak to them calmly."

The Vodacom Bulls conceded only 10 penalties (to the Xerox Lions' 21), with four at the breakdown, while the stats confirmed a more strategic plan from the home side.

Kurt-Lee Arendse made 12 tackles in the Carling Currie Cup semi-final against the Xerox Lions

Kurt-Lee Arendse made 12 tackles in the Carling Currie Cup semi-final against the Xerox Lions

They only made 88 passes to the 122 of the visitors, 48 of those from the two scrumhalves, Ivan van Zyl and Embrose Papier, with Morne Steyn (flyhalf) only making 13 passes, less than half of the 29 made by his opposite number, Elton Jantjies.

Vermeulen's fellow loose forwards, Marco van Staden and Elrigh Louw, assisted their captain excellently by doing the hard yards on the field. Van Staden completed 12 tackles, the most on the field, with Louw making nine.

Equally telling was the 12 tackles made by Blitzbok speedster Kurt-Lee Arendse, showing a huge determination in chasing kicks from either Steyn, Van Zyl or Papier. 

White said it points to something special about this squad.

"Duane said in the changeroom afterwards it’s unbelievable to see the determination of the team. Every time they are tested, every person showed that determination. They are an incredible bunch of players," he said.

The clash against the Cell C Sharks Saturday will challenge them again, White warned.

"This final will bring new challenges, no doubt. We are playing at home and must use that advantage. We have beaten the Sharks this year and this will give us some confidence."

White has won many tournaments and competitions all around the world, but it does not include the Carling Currie Cup, a trophy he holds dear.

"It is one of the oldest trophies in world rugby and I always had a soft spot for the Currie Cup," said White.