Bulls need to believe they can topple Leinster

rugby11 June 2024 09:55| © SuperSport
By:Brenden Nel
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Blue Bulls © Getty Images

With a massive task ahead of them in their Vodacom United Rugby Championship semifinal this weekend against Irish juggernaut Leinster, the Vodacom Bulls know one thing - they need to believe they can win.

Common sense says that Leinster, given their wealth of experience, their incredible depth in players and the game plan that took them to three consecutive Champions’ Cup finals, should be favourites wherever they play, even at Loftus.

Add to that the way they demolished the Bulls 47-14 in their last outing in Dublin on 29 March and it is clear what an uphill task awaits Jake White’s side when they step onto their home turf this weekend.

But that being said, knockout rugby is all about who handles the pressure the best, and in this case, the Bulls have to believe they can knock over Leinster - as they did in the first edition of the URC if they are to fulfill their dream of making the final.

“The one really positive thing is that they beat us 31-3 in the opening game of URC and we beat them in the semifinals a few months later. So it isn’t anything that hasn’t been done already by this group,” White said, rallying his troops,

“When it gets to knockout rugby, anything is possible. If we get a good start like we did, then they are under pressure. The one thing that is significantly different is that all the pressure against Benetton was on us. This week all the pressure is on whoever comes here.

“Leinster will probably have more pressure than we do. Because let’s be fair, the expectation is that Leinster should be winning with the international roster they have, they should be winning the URC.

“ I can only control the things we can control. Hopefully we can regroup and look after our bodies this week and mentally go into the game with a belief that it has been done before.

“We have beaten Leinster in Leinster and we have to believe that can happen in Pretoria as well. Then I really believe it can be.”


White said it was understandable that there would be pressure on Leinster given their record in the Champions’ Cup and their desperation for silverware, but while they are set to be underdogs in the game, the Bulls are dreaming of doing something that will be talked about by their fans for months and years to come.

“It is normal and human, they want to make the Irish team that come to South Africa and play the Springboks. I’ve said it many times, people follow sporting teams around the world to be there on the day that they win a game that people said should never happen.

“It is not unique to them. They will feel pressure, of course they will feel pressure. They have got an incredible team. Their budget is probably three times of ours. They have more international caps than we have URC caps.

“Saying that, knockout rugby is a strange thing. We could have quite easily lost to Benetton and people would have said how can that happen. That is what sport does.”

The Bulls normally would be favoured on their home turf, but know they are facing a massive task against one of the best coached and most experienced club sides in history, and one that will be desperate not to have another season of failure.

But they also know with their fans behind them, and belief, that anything is possible. In fact, they are banking on precisely that.