• Bulls URC stampede in Dublin is Jake White’s finest win ever

    Bulls URC stampede in Dublin is Jake White's finest win ever

    Jake White as a coach has won the World Cup with the Springboks but his victory at the helm of the Vodacom Bulls against Leinster in Dublin in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship semi-final is his greatest achievement in professional rugby, writes Mark Keohane.

    Right now, in the northern hemisphere and specifically in Ireland, when it comes to rugby, it doesn’t come better than going to Dublin and beating Leinster.

    This current Bulls side does not have a current Springbok in its line-up. This current Leinster side is double digits when it comes to current Irish internationals, the very same players who pumped the All Blacks in Dublin.

    It is one thing for Leinster to fall in the 82nd minute to a French side in Marseilles in the Champions Cup final. It is quite another to get beaten at home in the URC semi-final.

    One point separated the two teams on the final whistle, but this was everything but a one point game. Leinster scored seven points early and scored another seven points after the final whistle. Take that 14 and deduct it from the 26 and they took a 27-12 beating at the very place they won 76-14 against Glasgow a week ago.

    Marcell Coetzee, captain of the Bulls, was colossal and the the old men Bismarck du Plessis and Morne Steyn, introduced in the final 10 minutes, were massive in ensuring the win.

    Each individual played their part, but on Friday night in Dublin, Jake White made a statement to the South African rugby leadership and the world that he knows now to coach.

    The Bulls were a mess when White arrived. They’ve won everything in the past two seasons, with the exception of the URC SA Shield, and they’ve done it without a current Springboks.

    White’s Boks beat England 36-0 in the pool play at the 2007 RWC. They won the final 15-16. They were expected to win.

    Not so in Dublin in 2022.

    This is Leinster, Ireland in another guise, at home. They don’t surrender and not in play-off matches.

    The Bulls started the URC campaign as Currie Cup champions and they got hammered 31-3 against a mix and match Leinster at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.

    On Friday night, against the best team Leinster could pick, the Bulls won with a point but made a point greater in impact than the sum total of any one point.

    I had the Bulls to lose by 15 – more out of respect for Leinster than insult to the Bulls.

    I have never felt happier to be wrong.

    Oh, by the way the Bulls won 27-26 but it was never that close.


    SA RUGBY MAG REPORTS ON Vodacom Bulls 27-26 URC semi-final win v Leinster in Dublin.



    Article written by

    Keo has written about South African and international rugby professionally for the last 25 years