Ross Roche

By Ross Roche

Senior sports writer


Can missing Bok stars inspire Sharks to massive URC upset over Leinster

The Sharks will thus look to take plenty of inspiration from the feats of the Bulls.


The Sharks will hope to take inspiration from a host of missing Springbok stars as they attempt to topple the might of Irish giants Leinster in their United Rugby Championship (URC) quarterfinal at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Saturday (kick-off 6pm).

Leinster, arguably the top club side in world rugby, will be heavy favourites to progress to the competition semifinals after another strong season.

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The Sharks will be huge underdogs, with them missing Springbok captain Siya Kolisi, star lock Eben Etzebeth as well as flyhalf Curwin Bosch and scrumhalf Jordan Hendrikse who have all been ruled out of the game through injury.

However the visitors should be able to find inspiration from their missing comrades, as well as from their fellow South African franchise the Bulls, who have proven that Leinster can be beaten.

Last year the Bulls stunned Leinster in their semifinal in Dublin, which set up and all SA final against the Stormers.

In their final pool match just two weekends ago the Bulls again produced a brilliant performance to hammer a second string Leinster side 62-7 at Loftus, which ended up being the Irish side’s only loss of the campaign so far.

Despite it having been a second string Leinster, they had managed to win 16 and draw one of their 17 games before the Bulls match, with their ‘B’ side playing in a number of those fixtures.

Inspiration

The Sharks will thus look to take plenty of inspiration from the feats of the Bulls and try and produce another monster upset against the competition favourites.

Leinster are however on a mission of their own this season, after they were dumped out of the URC and Champions Cup at the semifinal stage last season.

They are targeting wins in both competitions and showed their power by brushing aside French giants Toulouse 41-22 in their Champions Cup semifinal over the past weekend, so will head into the Sharks match with plenty of confidence and momentum.

In the end it should end up a resounding win for the Irish side, but the Bulls have proven that anything is possible and the Sharks will hope to become the latest side to upset the odds.