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Bulls v Glasgow Warriors - Teams and Prediction

PREVIEW: All roads lead to Loftus Versfeld when the Bulls host the United Rugby Championship Final against Glasgow Warriors on Saturday.

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It is a stadium steeped in tradition and a venue that has inspired legends, there will be a sell-out crowd when the Bulls host the Final on Saturday.

On Friday morning two former Bulls legends addressed the team that will play in the Final.

Bakkies Botha, one of the greatest locks to come out of South Africa, as well as the legendary former captain of Northern Transvaal Thys Lourens, visited the team to inspire and motivate Jake White, the Director of Rugby at the Bulls, and his charges.

White is a coach who has been there and done that, his rugby pedigree speaks for itself, and he was asked what his message was to his young team ahead of this big occasion.

“The most important message for me was just to do what we did last week,” White said simply.

“Last week they showed in the way they played and the things they did that we were good enough to beat a team like Leinster.

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“There is no secret remedy. For me last week was outstanding.

“We have had lots of guys come in. Bakkies Botha has come in and had a chat with them. Bakkies has won the European Cup, three times Super Rugby, French championships, Tri-Nations, and British and Irish Lions.

“Thys Lourens won seven out of eight Currie Cups as a captain. And the message is always the same, just do the things you do well. The rest of the game will look after itself,” White recounted.

The Bulls side to face Glasgow sees the return of World Cup-winning wing Kurt-Lee Arendse after his cheekbone fracture a fortnight ago.

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Only time will tell if his return will be premature, although he was cleared by the medical team to play this weekend.

There is also a fresh face back in Devon Williams who has to fill the big boots of injured Willie le Roux.

Looking ahead at the challenge Glasgow will bring to the table, White explained it might be very different from the Leinster obstacle the Bulls faced last weekend.

“I am not sure Glasgow will play the same as they have all year in the Final.

“Them attacking as they do, using the pace they have, the pace of the ball, the pace of the breakdown, is something they have got a lot of gain out of.

“That is why they have been such a successful team as they are.

“Whether they are going to change based on the fact it’s altitude, or because there is no need to score four tries, I won’t know.

“Glasgow doesn’t go away.

“Hand in hand with that, it’s a completely different fixture altogether,” White said.

A special place

On the other side of the coin, there is Franco Smith, coach of Glasgow, who reckons his side must make a step up this weekend in order to overcome the Bulls, even though they managed to beat Munster in front of a very hostile crowd at Thomond Park last weekend.

He also referred to the conditions awaiting his team at Loftus, a place he knows well having played Super Rugby and Currie Cup for the Bulls in the late 90s.

“The ball flies higher over here because of the height above sea level. That is why Duncan [Weir] is on the bench. He has a little more distance [in his kicks],” Smith explained.

“Seeing Loftus full is always special. To share this experience with people I work with now is fantastic.

“I still believe Loftus is the best place to play rugby. The ball travels further, the wind never blows, the temperature is always the same and the crowd is always enthusiastic,” Smith said.

Players to Watch:

For the Bulls: Johan Goosen is a flyhalf who rarely misses any kicks at goal so if he gets the opportunity to punish Glasgow, he will. His experience in midfield is invaluable. He reads the game like the general he is and his combination with another stalwart, Embrose Papier is a pleasure to watch. The pack has been the Bulls’ strength the season, especially with the big man Wilco Louw to anchor the scrum. Elrich Louw, Cameron Hanekom, and Marco van Staden form a formidable loose trio and will need to be closely watched.

For Glasgow: Tom Jordan had one of his best showings against Munster last weekend as well as in the quarterfinal against the Stormers. His role in this team should not be underestimated. At centre, Huw Jones is a class act with intimate knowledge of South African conditions and together with Sione Tuipulotu the midfield pair can be a proper menace. Zander Fagerson has played every minute of the URC play-offs and is a consistent prop in the front row.

Prediction:

@rugby365com: Bulls by five points.

Teams:

Bulls: 15 Devon Williams, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 David Kriel, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Embrose Papier, 8 Cameron Hanekom, 7 Elrigh Louw, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Ruan Nortje (captain), 4 Ruan Vermaak, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Johan Grobbelaar, 1 Gerhard Steenekamp.
Replacements: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Simpiwe Matanzima, 18 Francois Klopper, 19 Reinhardt Ludwig, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Zak Burger, 22 Chris Smith, 23 Cornel Smit.

Glasgow Warriors: 15 Josh McKay, 14 Sebastian Cancelliere, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Sione Tuipulotu, 11 Kyle Steyn (captain), 10 Tom Jordan, 9 George Horne, 8 Jack Dempsey, 7 Rory Darge, 6 Matt Fagerson, 5 Scott Cummings, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 Johnny Matthews, 1 Jamie Bhatti.
Replacements: 16 George Turner, 17 Nathan McBeth, 18 Oli Kebble, 19 Max Williamson, 20 Euan Ferrie, 21 Henco Venter, 22 Jamie Dobie, 23 Duncan Weir.

Date: Saturday, June 22
Venue: Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria
Kick-off: 18.00 (16.00 GMT; 17.00 IRE & UK time)
Referee: Andrea Piardi (Italy)
Assistant referees: Frank Murphy (Ireland) and Craig Evans (Wales)
TMO: Matteo Liperini (Italy)

 

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