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

This Friday sees Leinster take on the Bulls at RDS in their United Rugby Championship semi-final, and for Leo Cullen, it offers an opportunity to catch up with a familiar face.

Bulls head coach Jake White doesn’t always come across as the hottest characters, but the man who led the Springboks to World Cup success in 2007 was on hand to offer Cullen a few words of wisdom. When Leinster Coach was at the start of its own coaching journey.

“Jake is a clever old coach. Been around the block,” says Cullen.

“I was coming towards the end of my first year in coaching and he gave me a lot of advice. I went to the Six Nations coaching conference, it would have been 2016. He was very helpful to me, also in terms of mentoring someone and understanding his philosophy on the game.

“We have also come up against each other with Montpellier in Europe (2016/17). He has a lot of experience being here at RDS, so he will know what’s involved. I’m sure he has his sleeves.” Will figure out some tricks.”

White’s advice to Cullen focused on how to approach the big games, something the Leinster boss has become well used to ever since that difficult first season in charge of five of his six pool games in Province Europe. Got Defeated.

“Just in terms of his vision he had in that (2007) World Cup period, that extended period before that and the beliefs he established, some of his philosophy about the game, how he started the game, etc. Told.

“It’s huge in terms of what he was discussing. But the experience he has brought to the Bulls, has been good in terms of consistency, consistency around selection, etc. There are some good youth coaches as well.

“He’s also doing it for the right reasons because he loves participation, I don’t think he’s doing it because he needs to, but because he loves the game. Still for those seasoned characters. Very nice who is coaching in our league as well, as they bring a huge amount to it.”

After being bulldozer Glasgow on SaturdayLeinster can certainly expect a tough challenge from the Bulls, who trounced the Sharks in their quarter-finals thanks to A Last Gasp Chris Smith Drop-Goal,

Leinster defeated the Bulls 31–3 at Aviva Stadium on the opening day of the season, but the Pretoria-based side have long found their footing – finishing fourth in the final URC table and in 11 of their 18 regular season games. Won victory.

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

Backrow, he has (Marcel) Coetzee, he was such a stand out player for Ulster as we all know. Look at all his games, he’s coming out with man of the match awards and big moments in games, he scores in passes. Very physically, very strong on both sides of the ball so he is the one who is a very, very impressive presence in his team.

“Half-back is good, a strong kicking game and he has a strong back three in terms of pace and pace, with kicks, chases, aerials and breaking balls as well.

“Mostert (Juan) in midfield” [who missed the Sharks game] Very, very strong a straight player, probably one of the same key people as him (Marcel) Coetzee. Depends who they choose (Elrigh) Lou or (Arno) Botha, they have other backrowers that are very, very powerful. They’re like a complete team.”

The semi-final draw also pits Ireland’s best players against a selection of South African sides, including Ulster away from Stormers in second semi-final on Saturday.

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“It’s a very new flavor to it, isn’t it, that’s what the competition needed. It’s the proper blowout that the competition needed.”

“I just go back to when I was watching Gary Teichman play for the Sharks, Ollie Le Roux, there was also a former Leinster great and some former greats that he had for years and years. Even when It is such an iconic venue even when we played in Durban.

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

“It is extremely exciting for us, although the Lions are probably a recent team and the Stormers are such a big franchise.

“And that’s another week trying to enjoy the journey, isn’t it? As the season progresses, you’re going to have a little bit of a disappointment, as we know, you lose a big game and have to face this challenge.” It’s good to draw attention to.

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