'Be Bok and adopt a Bull'

MARK KEOHANE argues that the Vodacom Bulls versus Leinster showdown at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday is the unofficial first of three Tests between SA and Ireland in 2024.

Keohane, writing in his blog on keo.co.za, emphasises the immense significance of the Vodacom URC semi-final in Pretoria this week, framing it as the world champion Springboks locking horns with reigning Six Nations champions Ireland—a clash between the world’s top two rugby nations.

He draws parallels to past legendary teams, highlighting Leinster's quality, stacked with Irish internationals akin to iconic All Blacks and Wallabies squads. Keohane criticizes the low ticket sales, attributing it to a lack of awareness among South African fans, despite Leinster's high profile.

KEO: Loftus battle of the Blues is a battle of world rugby's best

He underscores the historical context and excitement surrounding the event, noting the upcoming Boks versus Ireland Test series in July, the first in the Republic since 2016.

Keohane urges local support, stressing the psychological boost it could provide the Bulls and, by extension, the Boks. He calls for fans to transcend provincial loyalties and support the Bulls as a national duty, framing Saturday's match as a crucial prelude to next month’s clashes.

“This is not just Leinster against the Vodacom Bulls in the most anticipated semi-final of the Vodacom Rugby Championship. This is South Africa versus Ireland. This is one versus two in the rugby world,” he writes.

MORE: 'Let's show Irish who we are!'

“If we are talking about another URC play-off fight week, then it does not get bigger. It is Ireland in the Republic, at altitude, in the unofficial first of three Tests. It is rugby bliss in South Africa.

“Why only two Tests bemoaned the South African rugby public earlier this year. Why not three?

“Well, there are three, in the guise of the Bulls against Leinster in the URC semi-final, just three weeks out from when the Boks open their Test year against Ireland.

“'Be Bok and adopt a Bull', if only for Saturday.”

Photo: Lee Warren/Gallo Images

The post 'Be Bok and adopt a Bull' appeared first on SA Rugby magazine.