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'One swallow doesn’t make the summer,' Bulls coach White on great win against Leinster

Bulls coach Jake White says his side still have a long way.
Bulls coach Jake White says his side still have a long way.
Image: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix

Bulls coach Jake White has said that his side’s incredible victory over much-fancied Leinster on Friday ranks among his best achievements.

The Bulls travelled to Dublin in Ireland as underdogs but they stunned the formidable and star-studded Leinster side by beating them 27-26 in the semifinals of the United Rugby Championship (URC).

As a result of this memorable victory, the Bulls have booked a place in the inaugural URC final and they will play the winner of the other semifinal between the Stormers and Ulster taking place in Cape Town on Saturday.

Leinster were overwhelming favourites to win this competition after they dominated the URC from the first week until the quarterfinals stage and White’s Bulls knew it would take something out of the ordinary to beat the Irish side at home.

“It’s got to be up there,” said White who led the Springboks to the 2007 Rugby World Cup success.

“To be fair, I said before the game this is an incredible Leinster team. They have dominated Europe for the last couple of years, I looked at their record and in 225 games in Pro14, they lost only 21.

“They have a lot of international players and what was really pleasing was that we started against them in week one and the learnings and understanding of what we needed to do next time we played them were evident today (Friday).

“And that's why I'm so excited because it's not just the fact that we beat them, it's that the group has grown significantly in the last seven months.”

Another pleasing factor for the Bulls is that they pulled off this major upset without having any Boks in their starting line-up.

Excellent performances from players such as man-of-the-match Johan Grobbelaar, skipper Marcell Coetzee, Ruan Nortje, Janko Swanepoel, Walt Steenkamp and the young but brave Canan Moodie saw the Bulls go through to the final.

While the victory is a good sign that the Bulls are moving in the direction that will help them join Leinster as being one of the top rugby franchises in the world, White has warned that there’s still a bit of a journey ahead for his men.

“I just think it’s fantastic, but one swallow doesn’t make the summer,” White said.

“We just won one game against Leinster and it’s great that our forward curve and progression looks like it does.

“There’s a lot more things that I would like to do. There’s a couple of more signings that we are still going to try to get into place,” he said.

“We are not close to where we want to be but, without being arrogant, playing in a URC final in year one and being in the Currie Cup semifinals back home is something that is fantastic for our union as well.

“We want to keep growing and keep getting better, we are no different to Leinster. I’m sure Leo (Cullen, Leinster coach) will say the same message. They fell twice (including in the Heineken Cup final) this year and it’s not really like them and they will be a force to be believed with this year,” White said while backing Leinster to bounce back next year.

“One thing about Leinster that proves they are not a one-hit wonder is that they will be in the playoffs next year like they were last year and the year before.

“That for me is what we have to get to. The Bulls have to get to a position where every time we play a competition we have to be there at the back end of the competition. So far, so good but as I said, one swallow doesn’t make the summer.”

The URC final is scheduled for Saturday, June 18.


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