Jake White reckons Bulls will be underdogs against Leinster at Loftus

Jake White reckons Bulls will be underdogs against Leinster at Loftus

Bulls director of rugby Jake White insists his side will be underdogs against Leinster in Saturday's United Rugby Championship semi-final in Pretoria.

The Bulls did not always look comfortable in their 30-23 home victory over Benetton in the quarter-finals and must now contend with a much more formidable foe in the Irish giants.

Leo Cullen's side has never sent a full-strength squad on a South Africa tour as it has often been scheduled around the Champions Cup playoffs and the coach has opted to rest his key men, but that won't be the case this time around.

White has requested that Bulls fans make a full house at Loftus this weekend, even as the wily coach has been playing down his team's chances.

"The interesting thing is there are 160 minutes left of rugby. And let's be fair, no one thought Benetton could beat us. And they nearly did," White said.

"So we probably got no chance against Leinster and no chance against Munster, in everyone's eyes. Probably two of the best clubs in the world.

"But that's sometimes a nice place to be.

âœBecause Benetton showed today [Saturday] that if you really play well you can win a knock-out game.â

The Bulls have lost both of their World Cup-winning wings in Canan Moodie and Kurt-Lee Arendse to injury over the last couple of weeks which is a massive blow but expect Marco van Staden and Marcell Coetzee to return.

"I am hoping Marco and Marcell are back next week.

"That gives you two really senior players.

"Sometimes you have to think out of the box, just in terms of what you want out of the game.

"When I get home now I am going to look at the Leinster v Ulster game again and then I will get a good feeling for what the call has to be.

"Sometimes you have to be brave," White said.

The coach claims there will be no motivation required against one of the top sides in the world.

"If it's Leinster, I don't have to say anything. They drilled us. What am I going to say that's going to make them feel differently about getting up for this game?

"The one really positive thing is they beat us 31-3 in the opening game the first year, and we beat them in the semifinals at Leinster.

"So it's not something that hasn't been done by our group.

"We are the only South African team that has ever played Leinster's full-strength side and this will be the third time. There is no other franchise that has played Leinster's full-strength side.

"In three years, not one of the other franchises [has done it].

"When they came here, they brought their second stringers and at the beginning of the season when we toured there with the South African sides, they were at the World Cup.

"But there's a positive to that. It means we've played their best players â- this is the third time," he explained.

"The nice thing about rugby is when you don't play well and you win.

"That's the nice thing about rugby. When you don't play well and you still get a result. Many teams play well and still lose.

"For me it's like, let's recover, let's get ready, get our bodies right. It's not going to get any easier now."

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