Ross Roche

By Ross Roche

Senior sports writer


Strong South African flavour as Glasgow stun Bulls in URC final

A delighted Steyn after the game admitted that he was incredibly proud of the belief his team had shown.


There was a very strong South African flavour in the Glasgow Warriors team as they produced a second half comeback to stun the Bulls 21-16 in the United Rugby Championship (URC) final at Loftus on Saturday night.

The Scottish visitors showed tremendous character to fightback from a 13-0 deficit after 25 minutes, to go in at halftime trailing 13-7, and then after slipping 16-7 down in the 51st minute, come back with two more converted tries to securing a brilliant win in the end.

Glasgow are captained by South African born Scottish international wing Kyle Steyn, and coached by former Springbok Franco Smith, while a further two locals, Ollie Kebble and Henco Venter played off the bench.

Delighted Steyn

A delighted Steyn after the game admitted that he was incredibly proud of the belief his team had shown over three tough knockout games to lift the trophy.

“I am just so proud of the guys. Credit to the Bulls, they are a tough side and came out firing in front of their fans, put us under pressure and went 13-0 ahead. So I am so proud of the belief my guys have shown over the past three weeks,” said Steyn.

“No matter what has been thrown at us they’ve stuck at it. The defensive shift at the end there and some of the hits from our forwards up front. I am just over the moon.

“After the way they fired shots at us in the first half, to go into the break trailing 13-7 we would have taken that after the 40 minutes we had. That sort of settled us, as we came out at the start of the second half really well and took the intensity up a notch. I am really chuffed.”

Steyn also credited the immense amount of work that Smith has put in over the past two seasons since becoming head coach, and turning them into a championship winning team.

“Franco has been amazing. Anyone can see he does things with conviction and that has given us so much direction and has been easy to follow,” explained Steyn.

“At the start it was tough, but no matter what happened he stayed true and consistent and got the buy in from the players, and we have now seen the results of that.”

Humble Smith

Smith was humble as every after the game and admitted that the try scored by his side on the halftime hooter was the turning point in the match that allowed them to battle back and take the win, while he also hailed his teams buy into his plan.

“That was the turning point for us. I walked into the changeroom (at halftime) and said to the boys that we are now getting into their side of the field and we will get rewarded if we keep knocking on the door and that’s what happened,” said Smith.

“We want to be a second half team, so we always know that the second half will be better and I am excited to say there were no complaints about the altitude tonight.

“It is fantastic. They have bought into the plan. We needed to work on giving the guys a bit of a hard edge, so that they can front up against the South African teams because that is what they bring to the competition.

“I thought the way the team has worked hard over the past 20 months has been incredible. They bought in and they have mentally and physically grown a lot.”

Distraught Bulls

Bulls coach Jake White and captain Ruan Nortje cut distraught figures after the match, knowing how big an opportunity this was for them to win the URC title, but instead ended up as a losing finalist for the second time in three seasons.

“The margins are small and it doesn’t get any easier. I would be lying to you if I told you that I am not disappointed. I am unhappy because we have let the people down. With all these supporters here it was fantastic and we really wanted to give them something to be proud of,” said White.

Nortje added: “We have to give credit to the Warriors. They came out tonight, put us under a lot of pressure and are deserved champions. There are no excuses form our side, we had home advantage all the way, so credit to the Warriors.”

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