Leinster: Leo Cullen wary of ‘complete’ Bulls side ahead of United Rugby Championship semi-final

·3-min read
 Credit: PA Images
Credit: PA Images

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen insists that a stern challenge awaits when they host the Bulls in this weekend’s United Rugby Championship semi-final.

The Irish province blitzed Glasgow Warriors 76-14 on Saturday to ease into the last-eight, while the South Africans had to rely on a late drop-goal to defeat the Sharks 30-27.

Cullen’s men will be heavy favourites, especially with them playing at home, but the Leinster boss is wary of the threat the Pretoria-based outfit will pose in the URC last-four.

Marcell Coetzee’s influence

“The back-row that they have; Coetzee, he was such a standout player for Ulster as we all know. Look back at all his games, he’s coming out with man of the match awards and big moments in games, he scores tries close in. Physically very, very strong on both sides of the ball, so he’s one who is a very, very influential presence on their team,” he said.

“The half-backs are good, a strong kicking game, and they’ve a strong back three in terms of their kick-chase, aerially and from breaking ball as well – the speed and pace that they have.

“Harold Vorster in midfield is very, very strong, a direct player and probably one of the key guys, similar to Coetzee for them.

“They are sort of a complete team. They have a cohesive team as well so they don’t change the team that much and Jake (White) is a wily old coach, he’s been around the block.”

Cullen reserved particular praise for World Cup-winning coach White, who has helped transform the Bulls since taking charge in 2020.

The Leinster boss revealed that the 58-year-old has played a big role in his own development as a head coach.

“I was coming to the end of my first year in coaching. He gave me a fair bit of advice. I went away to a Six Nations coaching conference, it would have been 2015. He was very, very helpful to me in terms of someone with bits of advice and understanding his philosophy on the game as well so we’ve come up against each other with Montpellier in Europe as well,” Cullen said.

“Just in terms of his vision as he laid out leading into that World Cup period, over that extended period before that and the belief he instilled, some of his philosophies about the game, how he approached the start of the game. It’s pretty vast in terms of what he was discussing.

“But he’s been good for the Bulls in terms of the experience he’s brought, the continuity, and stability around selection.

“He’s doing it for the right reasons as well because he loves the involvement, I don’t think he’s doing it because he needs to, but because he loves the game.

“It’s great to still have those experienced characters who are coaching in our league as well, because they bring a huge amount to it.”

READ MORE: Leinster thrash hapless Glasgow Warriors to reach semi-finals

The article Leinster: Leo Cullen wary of ‘complete’ Bulls side ahead of United Rugby Championship semi-final appeared first on Planetrugby.com.

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