Ross Roche

By Ross Roche

Senior sports writer


No thoughts of revenge as Bulls take on Leinster in URC semifinal

The last time the two sides met was in the pool stage back in March in Dublin when Leinster walked away with a thumping 47-14 win.


The Bulls are not thinking about gaining revenge when they front up against Irish powerhouse Leinster in their United Rugby Championship (URC) semifinal at Loftus on Saturday afternoon.

The last time the two sides met was in the pool stage back in March when a full-strength Leinster, featuring their Irish internationals who were fresh off a Six Nations win, destroyed the Bulls 47-14 in Dublin.

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In the game the Bulls enjoyed a solid first half, trailing 12-11, and took a 14-12 lead early in the second half, before they were blown away by the fired-up hosts, but despite the disappointment of that result Bulls prop Gerhard Steenekamp says they aren’t looking for revenge.

“I don’t think revenge in rugby will get you anywhere. We have just been working on all the mistakes we made (in that match). The whole season we have been building up to something special and we will take that into this weekend and try to keep moving forward,” said Steenekamp.

Step up

The Bulls are coming off a tough quarterfinal win over Benetton, where they were pushed hard by a side they were expected to beat comfortably, and they will need to make a big step up if they want to get past a strong Leinster team.

“I think we missed a few tackles at crucial points of the (Benetton) game. So that’s something we have been working on this week. Also to play (well) for the full 80 minutes,” explained Steenekamp.

“Irish teams, Leinster in particular with all their internationals, have played at the highest level and on the biggest stage. We have to make sure that we stay switched on for the whole game, so that we don’t have any soft moments and give them any easy points.”

The scrum battle is set to be a thrilling one, with an all-Irish front row expected to line-up against an in-form Bulls front three featuring Steenekamp, Johan Grobbelaar or Akker van der Merwe, and Wilco Louw.

Eight man effort

However Steenekamp claimed that it will take a full eight man effort to get the upper hand and that they were just happy to be playing a powerful Leinster side in front of their home fans.

“The scrums have been going well but they haven’t been perfect. There is still a lot that we can improve on. They have a respected scrum. We will have to see what happens on the day. It’s eight against eight and we will try to come out on top,” said Steenekamp.

“It is very nice that we are playing in our backyard this weekend, which gives us a bit of an advantage but it’s not going to win us the game.

“It is going to be a big game and if you want to be the best you have to measure yourself against the best. You have to be able to beat them home and away, so it is another big game against a big Leinster side.”

Overall Steenekamp is happy with the season that his side have had, but admitted that it can only be considered a successful one if they win the URC.

“I think we have had a really good season. We have really improved our away form. If you want to win a tournament like this you have to be able to win away from home and we have done that.

“So it has definitely been a good season. But no season is great without a trophy in the cabinet, because their can only be one winner.”

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