We’ve got a lot to learn

We’ve got a lot to learn


Jake White said the Vodacom Bulls need more time to match the high standards set by Irish giants Leinster after they were well beaten in Dublin on Friday night.

Jack Conan was one of five second-half try scorers for Leinster in a dominant 47-14 Vodacom URC win over the Bulls at the RDS Arena. The top-of-the-table clash was of Test-match quality at times, with Leo Cullen’s men now nine points clear at the summit.

Johan Goosen impressed with three penalties and a try assist as the Bulls led 14-12 at half time. Leinster captain Luke McGrath was sin-binned for a high tackle on Bulls tryscorer Kurt-Lee Arendse.

However, having touched down initially through Josh van der Flier and Ronan Kelleher, the hosts secured their bonus point by the 48th minute.

RECAP: Leaders Leinster lash Bulls

Speaking post-match from the Irish capital on Friday, White praised the pedigree of Leinster while emphasising their ability to capitalise on the Bulls’ errors.

“You are talking about the best club team in this competition [and] the best club team that’s been around for a long time. I was asked by the media as I came off the field what do you take from that [result] and what I do take is that we need time,” the director of rugby told reporters.

“This didn’t happen overnight for Leinster; when I look at that bench it reminds me of a Springbok bench … packed with internationals, and not just former internationals but proper internationals.

“You look back at 14-12 at half time and it looks like you lost your way in the second half but to be fair, it was definitely up another two or three gears quickly after half time and we’re going to have to learn from that.

“And I’m not just talking about rugby learning, also learning as a team how we can get to those heights.”

“The one thing that Leinster have taught me tonight and reaffirmed is the ability for them to go into transition from defence into attack, it was phenomenal. Every time we made a mistake they punished us.”

PLUS: It’s going to be special – Kitshoff

The second-placed Bulls were back in Dublin for the first time since their 2021-22 meeting with Leinster in the semi-finals of the inaugural URC, which White’s charges won 27-26.

This time, scrumhalf Luke McGrath led a Leinster outfit that boasted over 1 500 combined club appearances in the starting XV as well as 11 players who featured for defending champions Ireland in the Six Nations, with a further five named among the replacements.

“Not many people come to the Aviva Stadium or the RDS and beat Leinster and tonight they just showed they went up another gear,” White added.

“I just went to their changing room and congratulated them – a lot of their players just won the Six Nations [with Ireland] and they beat South Africa at the World Cup. Their club side is definitely the benchmark for where we all want to get to.

“We were lucky enough to win here [in 2022] and got to be humble enough when we lose here to understand that we’ve got to learn.”

Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile via Getty Images


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