Ross Roche

By Ross Roche

Senior sports writer


First Leinster, then hopefully the Boks, says Bulls’ Wilco Louw

Louw, who last played for the Boks back in 2021, has been trying to force his way back into the national setup.


Springbok hopeful and powerhouse Bulls prop Wilco Louw has his full attention trained on his side’s United Rugby Championship (URC) semifinal clash against Leinster at Loftus on Saturday night, and not a recall to the national team.

Louw, who last played for the Boks back in 2021, has been trying to force his way back into the national setup, and has impressed in his first season back playing franchise rugby in SA after spending four years abroad.

ALSO READ: Jake White calls on Bulls fans to pack out Loftus for Leinster clash

His efforts have not gone unnoticed, with him invited to the Bok alignment camps earlier this year, and he could be in line to be selected for the second Bok squad ahead of the regular international season, but that is something that he is not currently thinking about.

Focus on Bulls

“For now the focus is to play in a blue jersey and to play the best rugby that I possibly can,” admitted Louw.

“If it happens (making the Bok squad), I would be incredibly excited. It’s a massive honour and a privilege to play for your country.

“But for now the (full) focus is on Leinster this weekend and to play my best rugby for the Bulls, and if I make it (the Boks) I would be very happy.”

After battling out a tight quarterfinal win over Italian side Benetton, who they were expected to comfortably beat, Louw said that they had taken a lot of lessons out of the game which had better prepared them for the challenge of Leinster.

“I think that’s where the pressure of playoff games comes in. Thankfully it happened this past weekend, so we have been able to learn from it and grow from it,” explained Louw about the close nature of the match.

“Benetton really tested us, especially in the wider channels, and although that’s not how Leinster play, it did give us a bit of extra practice. So hopefully we have checked that box and are more comfortable in defending in the wider channels now.”

Altitude factor

Where the Bulls will be hoping to receive a bit of assistance is the challenge that touring teams face with playing at altitude and although a number of teams have learnt how to slow the game down to offset that, Louw believes it will still catch you in the end.

“To get altitude to work at its best is to play a high-tempo game and get them to run a lot. Teams like Munster have come and brought the tempo down quite a bit,” explained Louw.

“But it doesn’t matter how slow you make it, the effects of altitude will get you anyway. Rugby is 80 minutes and sometimes longer. Teams are getting smart, someone during a break is sitting down getting medical attention. Sometimes there is something wrong that needs attention.

“But it goes both ways. When they rest, we rest as well. Hopefully we can get a nice tempo. To play a good brand of entertaining rugby, the ball needs to be in play. If you make it slow, you still need to run and you still have to scrum. So the impact of altitude will still be there.

“They are a well-coached team and they are very fit. So they won’t go away. It will be an interesting test for all of us. It will be a tough one.”

For more news your way

Download our app and read this and other great stories on the move. Available for Android and iOS.

For more news your way

Download our app and read this and other great stories on the move. Available for Android and iOS.