United Rugby Championship: Bulls not here ‘to just cruise around’ says captain Marcell Coetzee

Dylan Coetzee

Bulls captain Marcell Coetzee says his team are all in for their United Rugby Championship semi-final clash with Leinster in Dublin on Friday.

Coetzee’s men put on an impressive showing in the latter stages of the regular season, earning a home quarter-final against the Sharks – a game they dramatically won thanks to a late Chris Smith drop goal.

Going for the win

With the experienced head coach Jake White at the helm, it is expected that winning is the only target as they look to find a way to down the impressive Irish side.

Coetzee underlined this attitude, claiming his team are not in the playoffs “to just cruise around” as he previewed the titanic clash.

“We are going to go all for it,” he told reporters. “You don’t make the play-offs to just cruise around. It’s business and we are looking forward to it.

“It’s a great challenge playing against Leinster and it shows you where you can measure yourself as a team and as an individual. They have got great players all around the park. It is a great time to see where we stand and hopefully get to qualify for a final.”

Coetzee credited Leinster’s ambition with ball in hand and hopes not to allow the Dubliners to get speed at the breakdown.

“The thing with Leinster is they play with incredible tempo,” he said. “They also play an expansive brand of rugby, guys running onto the ball. You are going to put yourself under pressure. They try to outwork their opponents.

“You see the Ireland team as well. They have a very high tempo. The ball is not long at the breakdown so it’s all about preparing for that, backing your system. Our defence system has been looking after us well. It is still far from perfect but we’re striving to be better every day.

“By coming up against a team like Leinster you can’t allow them to give that quick pace on the ball with the playmakers they have in the back line, the likes of Johnny Sexton, Garry Ringrose. They do their magic you know.”

As expected, the Bulls will be looking to gain set-piece dominance and use that to exploit the Leinster game plan in the URC last-four contest. Leo Cullen’s men are strong in all areas, but the Leinster forward pack has not had it all their own way in recent times.

“I think whenever you play play-offs, the pillars of your success are set-pieces,” Coetzee added. “If your set-piece functions on the day that is something you can work from. It can help you get in the right areas. I’ll tell you we will be working very hard on our set-pieces for this game.

“We have been doing well in that department this season. We just need to continue building that. Still a lot of ‘fixables’ identified against the Sharks. But we will work on that this week.

“In any play-off team when you play on the other side the set-pieces need to function. It just helps you get in the right areas, like how we got that last drop goal to win the game against the Sharks last weekend. It started off on a penalty. We got our lineout functioning and we managed to build on that. Like La Rochelle did against Leinster.”

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