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VIDEO: The tussle will be in blue, not green says Louw

VIDEO: Leinster is not Ireland and the Bulls are not the Springboks and the hosts are playing in blue, not green says Wilco Louw.

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The United Rugby Championship semifinal on Saturday is likely to turn into an Ireland v South Africa mini-battle ahead of the Test between these two nations at Loftus Versfeld on July 6.

Since the Springboks were crowned World Cup champions last year, the fractious rivalry between these two nations has been ongoing, especially around the 7-1 split of the bench implemented by Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus. 

The two nations have had some fierce, entertaining encounters in recent times which has led to some bitter feuds between the Springboks’ head coach and Andy Farrell’s side.

The Leinster side is riddled with Irish internationals, while the Bulls also have their fair number of Springboks in their make-up.

It would therefore not be unreasonable to think that there might be more than a little retribution and niggle in the semifinal this weekend.

One of those mini-battles will be up front where the likes of Wilco Louw, Gerhard Steenekamp, and Johan Grobbelaar will come up against the might of the Irish.

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Louw fronted up to the media this week and was adamant he was playing in a blue jersey, although a fine showing would probably mean a tick next to his name by the Springbok selectors.

Leinster arrived in Pretoria with some powerful men who have all worn the Irish jersey with aplomb.

Tadhg Furlong is widely considered to be one of the best forwards in the game today. Coupled with Dan Sheehan and Andrew Porter the Irish front row is a dominant force and the battle up front will be one of the key aspects of the semifinal.

Louw has been hailed by the Bulls’ Director of Rugby, Jake White as the ‘strongest prop in the world’.

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Since the 29-year-old joined the Bulls he has helped the Bulls turn their scrum into a real weapon.

Louw was not perturbed by the upcoming tussle with the Irish when asked if he thought there would be some extra niggle in the game this weekend.

“Probably because of the magnitude of the game. 

“It’s a massive game and a must-win at that. You play to win,” he calmly commented.

“If there is a bit niggle up front, and that is not our approach, we play in a blue jersey, not a green one.

“They have 14 internationals on their side, so it will feel a bit like we are playing Ireland, but it’s the Bulls against Leinster,” the prop reminded.

“There will obviously be a few big moments in the game.

“But these days with the referees one can’t push and shove, because you might just push and shove the wrong way and then you will sit on the sideline for ten minutes.

“I certainly think it will be a big contest with some big moments.”

Louw is aware of the massive onslaught awaiting come scrum time.

But he reminded that the Bulls scrum had a field day against the World Cup-winning front row of the Sharks a fortnight ago.

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“It’s going to be a tough day at the office. They obviously know each other really well.

“I can’t say they are the best that we have encountered – obviously they are the most experienced because they have played the most games together.

“Possibly they are the tougher opponents, but scrumming against Ox and Vincent and Bongi is also tough.

“For now the focus is to play in the blue jersey and play the best rugby I possibly can.” 

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