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By Athenkosi Tsotsi

Sports Reporter

Jake White: Bulls v Leinster semi is a dress rehearsal for Boks v Ireland

The Bulls mentor has called on fans to come out in their numbers this weekend to make the home advantage count.

Bulls director of rugby Jake White has suggested that their United Rugby Championship semi-final clash with Leinster is a dress rehearsal for the series between the Springboks and Ireland next month.

White’s team will host the Irish province on Saturday at Loftus Versfeld (kick-off 4pm).

The Bulls mentor has called on fans from Pretoria and Johannesburg to come out in their numbers to make the home advantage count, and also to see the Ireland internationals who will likely play against the Springboks next month.

According to the media in Ireland, national coach Andy Farrell was rooting for Leinster in their quarter-final clash with Ulster, which they won 43-20, and hoping for the Bulls to go through to the last four.

With the first Test between the world champions and Ireland being played at Loftus and the altitude factor set to play a vital role, Farrell is keen on Leinster’s internationals getting a run out in Pretoria as that will help their cause.

Irish internationals on show

Ireland internationals like Josh van der Flier, James Lowe, Andrew Porter, Dan Sheehan and Tadhg Furlong are set to play against the Bulls.

For White, this is an opportunity for the public to see what they can expect from Ireland in the July Test series and a chance for Springbok hopefuls in his team to battle against Irish internationals.

“This is the dress rehearsal of the Test match (Springboks against Ireland) that’s at Loftus,” White said.

“They are going to bring almost the Irish team here. Two things that are nice about it; one is we can measure how good we are against Ireland.

“Two is it gives all these players who want to play for South Africa a first-hand chance of showing the national selectors and Rassie (Erasmus) that they can compete against the best players.

“This week, I have got to control everything possible for every boy who wants to be a Springbok to feel like they can compete against Leinster.”

Bulls optimistic

Despite Leinster being the overwhelming favourites, White is positive they can get a win on Saturday.

“We went on to beat them in the semi-finals at Leinster (two years ago),” he said.

“So it is not something that hasn’t been done by our group, and the beauty of knockout rugby is anything is possible, and anything can happen,” he said.