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Bulls' home semifinal record paints bleak picture for Leinster

Since rugby turned professional in 1996 and the Super 12 (now Super Rugby) competition was formed, the Bulls had their fair share of semifinals and won the competition three times – the only South African side to achieve this feat.

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But how many of those semifinals were won and more importantly, where?

Home ground advantage might be a myth to some, but we have seen through the years how teams’ record at home might just be enough to debunk it.

Here below are the Bulls’ semifinal record in Super Rugby and the URC:

Super Rugby:

1996 Blues 48-11 Bulls

2005 Waratahs 23-13 Bulls

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2006 Crusaders 35-15 Bulls

2007 Bulls 27-12 Crusaders

2009 Bulls 36-23 Crusaders

2010 Bulls 39-24 Crusaders

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2013 Bulls 23-26 Brumbies

URC

2022 Leinster 26-27 Bulls

The Bulls, in Super Rugby have been notorious for not travelling well on their Australian and later South American and Asian tours as the tournament expanded.

This is evident in their zero percent win ratio in away semifinals in the tournament.

In their glory years of winning the title, they have beaten the competition’s most successful team, the Crusaders on all three occasions in their run-in to win the trophy.

The only blemish in their home Super Rugby semifinal record comes in 2013.

The Bulls got successive kickable penalties in the final quarter of the match.

Then captain Dewald Potgieter kept going for the lineout without getting any results and eventually went for the points.

With two and a half minutes to go, the Bulls were leading 23-19 when the Brumbies were on the attack but then ended up losing possession.

Steyn cleared it away and Joe Tomane gathered and sparked the counter-attack.

The Brumbies set up a few phases and the Bulls defence looked to hold firm before Matt To’omua broke the line and passed it inside to Tevita Kuridrani who sealed the winning score.

Since then it’s been a few dry years for the Bulls in the semifinal stage of Super Rugby.

However, in their first URC season, they travelled to the RDS Arena to face the highly fancied Leinster, their same opposition this weekend and came out on top.

The Bulls will have every belief that they can advance to the Final against a Leinster side that’s desperate for silverware after a third successive Champions Cup Final loss.

This will be the first time Leinster sends their ‘A’ side to South Africa in the competition which could be a test for the home side.

The Bulls only lost to Munster in the 2023/4 URC season which happens to be the only European side to beat them at their fortress Loftus.

In this episode of Walk the Talk, Jim Hamilton chats with double World Cup winner Damian de Allende about all things Springbok rugby, including RWC2023 and the upcoming Ireland series. Watch now for free on RugbyPass TV

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