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VIDEO: Why Bulls are still 'sour'

SPOTLIGHT: Bulls loose forward Elrigh Louw admitted it will be costly to underestimate Benetton when the two sides meet this weekend at Loftus Versfeld.

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The two sides will meet in a United Rugby Championship Round 17 clash in Pretoria on Saturday.

With just two matches remaining, the fourth-placed Bulls (56 points) know they have to secure a win to keep their home play-offs hopes alive, especially with the fifth-placed Stormers (50 points) breathing down their necks.

The Bulls will be out to make a big statement in front of their Loftus faithful after their narrow 40-34 win over Glasgow Warriors last week.

With a healthy 37-10 lead, it was a nervy conclusion for the Bulls who conceded three late tries in the final quarter of the match – handing Glasgow two losing bonus points.

Despite the unwanted late slump, Louw said team is in good spirits and they learnt some valuable lesson as they prepare for Benetton.

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“We are positive and learnt a few lessons, and it’s good to be able to learn lessons and still win games,”  said Louw, who scored a try during the win over the table-toppers.

“We went away from our plan a bit at the end of the match, but I thought we delivered a very good performance.

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“I don’t think there’s a lot to change. We had an awesome attitude throughout the week and the game.

“There were just little things that crept in during the last few minutes – penalties, soft moments on defence. But not a lot to change.”

The Bulls  have beaten the Benetton twice (home and away) in their last encounters.

However,  while the Bulls might head into the fixture with a slight advantage, Louw urged his team not to underestimate  the Italians.

He admitted the 8-35 defeat during the 2021 Rainbows Cup Final in Treviso is still a sore spot to this day.

“They [Benetton] are a quality team with a lot of internationals, and if you look at how Italy’s rugby is going at the moment, they are definitely a force to be reckoned with and not to take lightly,” Louw said.

“You shouldn’t look at teams differently, and we prepare like we always would. But [the 2021 Final] still hurts, and the guys are sour and probably will always be sour over that loss in Italy.

“At the end of the day we have a job to do this weekend, and hopefully we get five points.”

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The Green and Gold jersey

Louw has been a standout performer in the Bulls team. His form saw him back on the Springboks’ radar and he was recently part of the two-day alignment in March.

While the invitation is certainly not a call-up to the Springbok squad for the July incoming series against Ireland, it is an indication that Louw might add to his two-Test cap tally.

Louw made his Springbok debut against Wales in 2022 at just 22 years old.

Coming off the bench in the 50th minute to replace captain Siya Kolisi, Louw produced a memorable performance. The loose forward made powerful carries, crushing tackles and was close to scoring as he helped the Springboks to a 32-29 win at Loftus Verfeld.

“It’s definitely a goal of mine to play more Springbok Tests,” Louw said.

“However, I’m focusing on performing well in the Bulls jersey at the moment, and doing what I can and controlling what I can.

“If I play well in the Bulls jersey then it’s meant to be if I get a call-up to play more Test rugby.”

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