Familiar faces come to Dublin as Leinster prepares to tackle Jake White’s Bulls

THIS FRIDAY SEES Leinster face the Bulls at the RDS in their United Rugby Championship semi-final, and for Leo Cullen, it gives a chance to reach a familiar face.

Bulls head coach Jake White doesn’t always look like the hottest of characters, but the man who led the Springboks to the 2007 World Cup was ready to offer Cullen a few wise words when the Leinster coach was at the start of sia. own training trip.

“Jake is a cunning old coach. It was around the block, “Cullen says.

“I came to the end of my first year in training and he gave me a lot of advice. I went to a Six Nations training conference, it would be 2016. He was very, very helpful to me with someone with advice and understanding his philosophy as well. about the game.

“We also met Montpellier in Europe (2016/17). He has a lot of experience being here in the RDS so he will know what is involved. I’m sure he’ll have some tricks up his sleeve. ”

White’s advice to Cullen focused on how to approach big games, which the Leinster boss has since become well used to in the years since that difficult first season in charge, the province losing five of its six pool games in Europe.

“It was in his vision that he set out leading to that 2007 World Cup period, during that extended period before that and the belief that he absorbed, some of his philosophies about the game, how he approached the start of the game and so on.

“It simply came to our notice then. But he was good for the Bulls in terms of the experience he brought, the continuity, stability around selection etc, etc. some good younger coaches there as well.

“He does it too for the right reasons because he loves the involvement, I don’t think he does it because he needs to, but because he loves the game. It’s great to still have those experienced characters who train in our league as well, because they bring a huge amount to it. “

Bulldozing Glasgow on SaturdayLeinster can certainly expect a tougher challenge from the Bulls, who scraped past the Sharks in their quarter-finals thanks to last year Chris Smith falgolo.

Leinster crushed the Bulls 31-3 at the Aviva Stadium on the opening day of the season but the Pretori-based side long ago found their feet – finishing fourth in the final URC table and winning 11 of their 18 regular season matches.

“Most South African teams will test you especially in the bat, scrum and maul,” Cullen continued.

The back, they have (Marcell) Coetzee, he was such an outstanding player for Ulster as we all know. Look at all his games, he comes up with a man of the match awards and great moments in games, he wins tests close in. Physically very, very strong both sides of the ball so he is one who is a very, very influential presence on their team.

“The halfbacks are a good, strong kick and they have a strong back three in their kick, hunting, in the air and also from a break ball, the speed and speed that they have.

Mostert (Juan) in midfield [who missed the Sharks game] a very, very strong direct player, probably one of the main guys similar to (Marcel) Coetzee for them. Depending on who they choose (Elrigh) Louw or (Arno) Botha, they have other backers who are very, very powerful. They’re a complete team. “

The semi-final draw also puts Ireland’s best against the choice of the South African sides, with Ulster away to the Stormers in the other semifinal Saturday.


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“It’s a very new taste to it, isn’t it, what the competition needed. It’s the proper shake that the competition needed.

“I just went back to when I was a kid watching Gary Teichmann play for the Sharks, Ollie Le Roux there, a former Leinster big man was there too and some of the former big guys they had for years and years. Even when we played in Durban, it is such an iconic site.

“The Bulls had a very successful period in Super Rugby where they were the dominant force, you think of some of the titles they won with literally steamrolling teams.

“That’s extremely exciting for us, although the Lions are probably the team more recently and Stormers are such a big franchise.

“And it’s trying to enjoy the trip for another week, isn’t it?” You’re a little disappointed as the season goes on, as we know, you’re losing a great game and it’s nice to have this challenge to turn our attention to. ”

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