Glasgow wary of Bulls backs, even without World Cup winners

rugby20 June 2024 14:14| © SuperSport
By:Brenden Nel
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Glasgow Warriors fullback Josh McKay has warned his teammates about underestimating the Vodacom Bulls backs ahead of their showdown in Saturday’s Vodacom United Rugby Championship final at Loftus Versfeld.

Even though the Bulls are missing Kurt-Lee Arendse, Canan Moodie and may also miss Willie le Roux, all World Cup winners, the New Zealand-born fullback believes there is enough quality among the backs that the Bulls still will have a lot of firepower.

Le Roux failed an HIA test last week and the Bulls have been mum about whether he will be available for the final.

"They've got some electric backs, they've got good kickers who can get them around the field, they've got strong ball carriers," McKay said.

"They're certainly not just a one-trick pony. They're a quality opposition and we're well aware of the challenge that they bring. We've got to have confidence in ourselves and back ourselves, which we do in this squad at the moment.

"We just need to not get too far ahead of ourselves, just play moment by moment, and not think of the outcome as more important than nailing the processes."

After losing out on the EPCR Challenge Cup last season, where Glasgow lost in the final to Toulon, the team are 80 minutes away from challenging for silverware and McKay believes that they have come a long way under South African coach Franco Smith.

"The team's come a long way in the last 12 months," he said.

"In that first season with Franco, we were figuring a few things out, but we've been able to go from strength to strength this season. We've still had our ups and downs, but across the board we've been a whole lot more consistent.

"It can only be a positive thing. A lot of the boys who played in last year's final are going to be showing up in this year's final. It's also important for the whole squad, because we ride the wave together. It's going to help."

With Glasgow having played and won against Munster with Saturday’s final referee, Italian Andrea Piardi officiating, he warned that discipline would be key, especially as Glasgow conceded six penalties in the opening 11 minutes and Piardi sin-binned two players in the first half.

“We didn’t start too flash, did we? So we can probably learn from that,” smiled McKay.

“It’s a final, he's going to ref it how he sees it. I think the easiest thing that we can do is focus on ourselves. And if that means not getting too greedy at the breakdown or getting pinged for offside then that’s a pretty easy fix.

“I think we might have been a little too eager there, maybe [against Munster]. It’s a massive game so we don’t want to be giving away silly penalties, particularly in the first 10 minutes.

“We’ve got to have confidence in ourselves and back ourselves, which I think we do. We just need to not get too far ahead of ourselves, just play it moment by moment, minute by minute and not think of the outcome as being as important as nailing the processes throughout the whole 80 minutes.

“We know the challenges of playing at altitude and what Loftus can bring. We’ve had a couple of games over here to get a feel for what it’s going to feel like on the lungs.

“At the end of the day, we don’t want to focus on that – we’ve not talked about it too much – we just want to get on with the job at hand.”