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VIDEO: It's Finals rugby...you just need one point

VIDEO: Sergeal Petersen has stepped out of the cold directly into the cauldron of a United Rugby Championship Final for the Bulls against Glasgow Warriors at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

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Petersen could be regarded as a has-been – that was before the semifinal against Leinster put the spotlight on him again after a few years hovering on the outskirts of the game.

When he burst onto the scene as a fresh-faced 18-year-old in 2013 having just matriculated from Grey High in Gqeberha, a big future was predicted.

He became an overnight sensation for the Kings. Since then the speeding wing has had stints with the Cheetahs, Western Province, Stormers, and Shimizu Blue Sharks in Japan.

Then Jake White, Director of Rugby at the Bulls, gave him a new lease on life, offering him the chance to reinvent himself in Pretoria with the knowledge that he would be competing with World Cup-winning flyers like Kurt-Lee Arendse, Canan Moodie, and Willie le Roux to name a few of the top Bulls backs.

“I came into the squad knowing I have a specific role to play. Canan and Kurt-Lee are Springboks and it is obviously big shoes to fill when they are there, but they are not there.

“Any team with them in is a better team. I just know what my role is and I delivered. It is what it is.”

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And then came the news of the injuries to Arendse and Moodie. White did not think twice and brought in Petersen for the big semifinal against Leinster – the only player in the Bulls squad that has won a URC title.

And boy did he deliver. Well, first there was the yellow card. Followed by two spectacular tries.

“Last week was intense – it was my first game after 14 weeks and after 60 minutes I was blown.

“But that also helped me with keeping up with the pace of this week. I’m just happy we have another week to play rugby. The job is not done, we’ve got one more week and we need to finish it.”

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He got a bit of a tongue-lashing from his coach.

“I said to him, ‘You’ve got to be brave, Sergeal, you can’t run in between people, you’ve got to tackle’. I gave it to him and not for any other reason than he is better than that,” White said after the Leinster game.

“So, credit to him, he made his tackles, jumped in the air, won the ball, and chased. He realised that he better do his job.

“The one guy who has won the URC in our team is Sergeal. So, who knows, maybe this week he’s the most important guy in our team because he will have to explain to us what it’s like to win this competition.”

Petersen’s experience going into the Final will be vital. He has had ups and downs in his career, been told he was too small but has managed to fight his way back into the limelight.

“We had a chat during the week about finals rugby and doing the basics right, so that’s what I think ticked him off a bit when it happened.

“At halftime, we had our chat and coming in the second half we tried to stick to the plan and what we had been doing the whole season,” Petersen said afterward.

“It’s finals rugby, you don’t need four tries to win a game, just one point.

“At the end of the day, this is my job. I am a professional and have to do what I have to do to keep the dream alive. Life comes with its ups and downs and it is how you handle it, and how you act that matters.

“I try not to be too serious with myself, I try to be too light.

“I know my abilities, and situations happen but you have to keep on going and try and keep yourself motivated.

“You can’t change too much, what you’ve built on since the beginning of the campaign and there is a reason why we are where we are at the moment.

“Basics are going to be the most important for us because you only need one point to win. That’s the most important thing for us, we need to stay focused and keep mistakes to a minimum and be clinical in what we do,” he said.

 

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