Home Sport Praise for giant-killing Bulls after win over Leinster

Praise for giant-killing Bulls after win over Leinster

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Johan Grobbelaar described the momentous 27-26 victory for the Bulls over Leinster in the United Rugby Championship semi-final as a massive experience and a great win.

The Vodacom Bulls celebrate winning their United Rugby Championship semi-final against Leinster in Dublin
The Vodacom Bulls celebrate winning their United Rugby Championship semi-final against Leinster in Dublin, on 10 Jun 2022. Picture: Billy Stickland, INPHO, Shutterstock, BackpagePix

Cape Town – “Massive experience, great win.” That was how Man of the Match Johan Grobbelaar described the momentous 27-26 victory for the Bulls over Leinster in the United Rugby Championship semi-final at the RDS Arena in Dublin on Friday night.

The Bulls hooker had the game of his life and most certainly put his hand up for Springbok selection for the upcoming three-Test series against Wales with a monumental effort against the Irish giants.

Not only did Grobbelaar do his basics of lineout-throwing and scrumming well, he was a colossus at the breakdowns as he pulled off a number of turnovers that stopped Leinster in their tracks on attack.

The 24-year-old Paarl Gym product hovered around before pouncing at just the right time, which meant that the home side battled to get their famed slick ball-in-hand style going.

“It was an amazing experience. We believe the game begins with our forwards – set-piece obviously very important, and I think we put the hard yards in at their 22 zone. So ja, massive experience, great win,” Grobbelaar said in a post-match TV interview.

“We have a great group, bunch of people – even the guys at home in South Africa. We want to thank them as they always have our back. I want to thank everyone at home: all the family and friends, all the supporters.”

Bulls coach Jake White couldn’t hide his delight afterwards either. The former Springbok coach had waxed lyrical about how good Leinster are all week, and one wondered if he truly believed that his team could win, or whether it was all a ruse.

But his players did the job on the pitch, and he couldn’t hide his smile afterwards. “It’s phenomenal, considering what I said before the game. We think we are going to learn a lot in this competition, and to get a win at Leinster is obviously phenomenal for us,” White said in a post-match TV interview.

“We started well … Every time you play Leinster, they get a good start and you’ve got to catch up. We kept ourselves in the game – we got a little bit of belief, and then they started to believe.

“Sometimes a player gets belief, and it rubs off on everybody. I could feel it in the change-room at halftime – they genuinely believed they could win the game, which is always fantastic.

“Leinster are the one team who hold the ball, and they come at you all the time. And I think the fear factor of the defence knows that if you don’t get up off the line … if you don’t get onto your feet, they are going to carve you.

“So, I’m very proud of the way we defended. When they’re on a roll and they keep the ball, they are very difficult to stop.”

Now the Bulls await the outcome of the second semi-final between the Stormers and Ulster in Cape Town on Saturday (3pm kickoff) to see whether they have to travel to Cape Town Stadium or Belfast.

“Marcell (Coetzee) probably said he’d like to go to Ulster, so we will go with him to Ulster!” White quipped.

Scorers

Leinster 26 – Tries: Dan Sheehan, Robbie Henshaw, Rory O’Loughlin, Cian Healy. Conversions: Ross Byrne (2), Johnny Sexton (1).

Bulls 27 – Tries: Johan Grobbelaar, Marcell Coetzee, Penalty Try. Conversions: Chris Smith (2). Penalties: Smith (1), Morné Steyn (1).

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