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VIDEO: 'Pressure is a privilege' as Bulls gear up for Final

Cornel Smit is not downplaying the immense pressure on the Bulls as they get ready to host Glasgow Warriors in the 2023/24 United Rugby Championship Final at Loftus Versfeld.

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Unlike last weekend, the Bulls head into the Final as overwhelming favourites following their incredible semifinal win over Leinster.

Not a lot of people expected the Bulls to overcome the Irish giants.

However, they produced a stunning performance spearheaded by World Cup winner Wille Le Roux and star flyhalf Johan Goosen.

Jake White’s men scored three tries and overcame a first-half yellow card to secure a 25-20 win in Pretoria.

Glasgow Warriors claim a spot in the Final thanks to a hard-fought 17-10 win over Munster at Thomand Park.

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“I would be lying if I said there is no pressure,” Bulls centre Conel Smit said when asked about being favourites.

“But in this squad, pressure is a privilege.

“Some people will say we are favourites, but we don’t look at it like that.

“We just focus on our week as if it is any other normal week and try not to let the occasion get the better of us.

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“Whether we are favourites or not anything can happen on the day and that is what we are training for. We just want to play the best rugby on the day.”

He added: “As South Africans, we can get a bit emotional, but we as a team try to calm it down and focus on the details.

“I think once we get out there, we see the stadium fully packed then those emotions, hunger and aggression would come out naturally.

“We not a team that is very out there or banging our heads against the lockers ahead of the game. We are very calm and comfortable in each other presence, and I don’t think anyone needs any extra motivation.”

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Making his Bulls debut last weekend from the bench, Smit’s move from the Stormers to the Bulls seems to have worked out quite nicely.

He replaced Springbok star Le Roux in the second half during the victory at Loftus.

“I came here in January joining a very settled team,” said Smit, who was part of a swap deal with centre Wandisile Simelane.

“I knew it was never going to be easy to make the 23-man squad, but I worked hard for a long time and the opportunity actually came when it was least expected.

“To make my Bulls debut in a play-off game with a crowd almost to full capacity was a really special moment for my family and me.

“All the hard work paid off and it was very special win as well.

“It is amazing how quickly things change.

“My family are huge fans of Western Province and Stormers, but I think it was time for me personally to put that aside and focus on my career.

“It is a bit weird thinking that I just played a semifinal for the Bulls and now we are getting ready for the Final, but it’s amazing.

“I’m very grateful for my time at the Stormers, but loving my time at the Bulls as well.

“I come from Cape Town but definitely a reformed Bulls fan and player now.”

With the possibility of Le Roux missing the Final against the Scottish side due to an HIA, Smit might receive the opportunity to start.

It will mean that the regular centre will have to move to wing with Devon Williams at fullback, a feat he is more than happy with.

“The most important thing is the team. At the end of the day, it all looks much better on our CVs if we have a URC championship on there, so whatever we can do to help whether that means me starting, on the bench or even not playing I am happy to fulfil that role.

“Personally on the field, I felt comfortable replacing Willie Le Roux last weekend and enjoyed it. So if I get the chance to start I will be happy and ready for it.”

White will name his team to face Glasgow Warriors on Friday.

 

 

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