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VIDEO: It is going to be a Test match at Loftus

Leinster assistant coach Robin McBryde admits his team has been taken ‘outside their comfort zone’ by having to play away from home – having lost their last two United Rugby Championship semifinals at home.

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On Saturday they invade Loftus Versfeld to tackle an ambitious Bulls team in the last-four encounter of 204.

He expects the home team to lift their game and intensity of the game to Test match level.

“Maybe it is good that we come to a tough place against an inform team,” he said in the build-up this week.

“You can react positively to having to do things the hard way.

“Hopefully we will get a good reaction out of the players on Saturday.”

The hosts have not lost a home semifinal in over 10 years, but are battling with several high-profile injuries to their Springbok contingent – with Marcell Coetzee, Canan Moodie and Kurt-Lee Arendse all ruled out of the tie.

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Despite this, the Bulls still possess significant attacking prowess, ranking as the top try scorers this campaign, averaging 4.72 tries per game.

This relentless try-scoring power has been driven by their ruthlessness in the opposition’s 22, also ranking top for the season in points per visit to the opposition 22 with 3.17.

McBryde said he feels the Bulls are favourites, given their proud home record and having had more preparation time.

(WATCH as Leinster assistant coach Robin McBryde previews their URC semifinal face-off against the Bulls and Loftus Versfeld on Saturday….)

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“The odds are stacked in their favour,” he said.

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Leinster will be hoping to shake off their struggles in South Africa this season, having just one win from three matches on the road against Southern Hemisphere sides this season.

They will take confidence from the fact that they overcame the Bulls convincingly 47-14 at the RDS Arena in Round 13, with their challenge set to be replicating this performance in the high-altitude conditions of Pretoria.

However, they are also coming off another disappointing knock-out loss – a 22-31 reverse to Stade Toulousain in the Champions Cup Final last month.

McBryde said the South African teams have raised the bar and in the top six teams anyone can beat anyone else on the day.

“The quarterfinals were tight game, with not a lot of room for error.

“It is a quality competition and the Bulls are a pedigree team with international experience.

“It is going to be a Test match on Saturday – in terms of the level of intensity,” McBryde added.

@king365ed
@rugby365com

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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