Ken Borland
Sports Journalist
2 minute read
12 Jun 2022
1:46 pm

‘Bulls showed in URC semifinal that Leinster are human’ — White

Ken Borland

The Bulls will now face their countrymen, the Stormers, in the final in Cape Town this coming weekend.

Typically stout Bulls defence from Marcell Coetzee (left) and Mornay Smith against Leinster in the URC semifinal. Picture: Brendan Moran/Gallo Images

Bulls coach Jake White spent most of the last week emphasising how important a good start would be for his underdog team against the fast-starting Leinster side in their United Rugby Championship semi-final in Dublin.

So when the Bulls almost immediately conceded a soft offsides penalty and hot favourites Leinster were straight on to their goal-line, bashing away, one would imagine White would have been angry. But what followed was 11 phases of brilliant, brave defence that kept Leinster out. It would arguably be the making of the Bulls side and their stunning 27-26 win, the scoreline flattering Leinster because they scored after the final hooter.

Read more: Magnificent, magical Bulls shock Leinster

“A lot has been said about Leinster, but they generally start well,” White said after what he rated as one of his most memorable wins as a coach. “We were forced to defend for the first couple of minutes.

“But then we managed to kick downfield and that changed the momentum of the game. Leinster were shown to be human, they normally don’t make silly mistakes, but they had one or two moments.

“In a one-point game, that makes the difference. It was never fait accompli against them, you have never done enough to keep them out. I’m happy they didn’t start like they ended with that last phase.

“This has got to be up there for me in terms of wins, Leinster have been the dominant force in European rugby, but our team has learnt what they need to do against international players,” White said.

Eateth not off the floor

The Bulls pack produced the sort of proud, combative, massively powerful display that inspires songs to be written about them and, in Dublin, it would probably be translated as the Bulls eateth not off the floor.

But White was also pleased his team showed some wonderful touches on attack.

“The Bulls have always historically had good forward play, but I really enjoyed the interplay between backs and forwards, especially in the first half.

“But the key against Leinster is to not give them set-piece, and we turned the ball over in a couple of key late lineouts, and our physicality on the gainline caused them to have a couple of knock-ons, which they don’t generally do.

“It was obviously a great win for us, but a couple of things did work in our favour, like the weather turning bad at one stage.

“But this whole group has grown significantly and the one thing we have got right is to play our best rugby in the knockout stages. I hope we continue to play with that intensity, composure and confidence,” White said ahead of this weekend’s final against the Stormers in Cape Town.

Also read: Stormers edge Ulster to book all-SA home final against Bulls