Leinster coach Leo Cullen says the Vodacom Bulls “showed really good composure” to set up a tantalising Vodacom United Rugby Championship semi-final between the two sides in Dublin on Friday.
The Bulls edged the Sharks in a nail-biting quarter-final in Pretoria on Saturday to book a showdown against Leinster at the RDS Arena, before the Stormers host Ulster at Cape Town Stadium in the other last-four decider.
With the game evenly poised at 27-27 after regulation time at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday, the Bulls won a penalty and then a red-zone lineout and Chris Smith dropped into the pocket to sink the Sharks with the game-winning drop goal.
Leinster, meanwhile, booked a spot in the URC semi-finals after putting 12 tries past Glasgow Warriors as the eight-time champions cruised to a 76-14 victory in Dublin on Saturday.
The Irish also beat the Bulls comfortably 31-3 when the two teams met in the opening round of the URC at Aviva Stadium in September.
Asked post-match on Saturday whether Leinster’s one-sided mauling of Glasgow was adequate preparation for a rematch against the Bulls, Cullen replied: “It’s not ideal, that’s fair to say, but you got to deal with what you got to deal with.
“For some guys it gives them a bit of confidence but does it really matter going into next week? No. It’s just about getting through into the next round, whether that’s by a point or more than that.
“The Bulls game, on the other hand, was a very tight, tense affair so they prepared for that drop goal late in the game.
“I thought they did well; the Sharks had their moments just before that … Bulls came up with a big turnover, got down to the end of the field, and showed really good composure to win the game.
“Ideally we don’t get ourselves in that situation next week where it’s tight at the end of the game!”
He added: “We got to do a bit of work on the Bulls this week; Sharks are a team we played more recently… Bulls we have to think back to round one in the league, back at the Aviva so it’s a long time ago.”
— Official Blue Bulls (@BlueBullsRugby) June 5, 2022