Bulls v Leinster - Road to semi-final

Bulls v Leinster - Road to semi-final

The Vodacom Bulls welcome Leinster to Loftus Versfeld.

Beaten finalists in 2022, the South African side saw off Benetton while Leinster came out on top against Irish rivals Ulster as they chase a ninth title.

The game will take place on Saturday June 15.

Here is all you need to know about the semi-finalists.

Vodacom Bulls (2) v Leinster (3)

When: Saturday June 15

Where: Loftus Versfeld

Time: 1500 (UK & IRE); 1600 (SA)

Referee: Sam Grove-White

AR 1: Adam Jones ; AR 2: Mike Adamson ; TMO: Ben Whitehouse

TV: SuperSport, RTÉ, Premier Sports, URC.tv

Did you know?

  • Since their defeat to Munster in Round 14 - their only home loss this season - the Bulls have won their last five URC matches.
  • The Bulls reached the final in 2022 when they lost to the Stormers in Cape Town.
  • The Bulls have won their two previous URC play-off fixtures at Loftus Versfeld - both quarter-finals, against the Sharks in 2022 and Benetton last week.
  • This is just the fourth Leinster play-off game to be played outside of Dublin. The three previous ones were all finals, Leinster winning against Glasgow at Celtic Park in 2019.
  • Leinster’s only victory in South Africa since 2018 was against the Emirates Lions in Johannesburg in April 2023.
  • If named in the squad, Robbie Henshaw is in line to make his 100th URC appearance

URC record 2023/24: Bulls (W13 D0 L5 = 66 points); Leinster (W13 D0 L5 = 65 points)

Form guide: Bulls (LWWWWW); Leinster (LLWLWW)

Top try scorer: Bulls (Akker van der Merwe - 12); Leinster (Rob Russell - 7)

Top points scorer: Bulls (Johan Goosen - 141); Leinster (Ross Byrne - 65)

Vodacom Bulls' route to the semi-finals

Round 1: Vodacom Bulls 63-21 Scarlets

The Bulls opened their season with a nine-try victory stroll against the Scarlets at Loftus Versfeld, with Cameron Hanekom and Stedman Gans both collecting doubles.

Round 2: Ulster 26-19 Vodacom Bulls

Despite outscoring Ulster 3-2 on tries, the Bulls were undone by Nathan's Doak precision goalkicking as he booted 16 points to steer his team home.

Round 3: Zebre Parma 29-54 Vodacom Bulls

A high-scoring contest at the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi went comfortably the Bulls' way, with David Kriel scoring three tries.

Round 4: Cardiff 12-18 Vodacom Bulls

It proved a far tighter affair at the Arms Park a week later, with the Bulls having to withstand Cardiff's fightback following tries for Embrose Papier and Sebastian de Klerk.

Round 5: Edinburgh 31-23 Vodacom Bulls

The Bulls had Marcell Coetzee sent off one minute into the second half and the home side took advantage by scoring three tries. There were also yellow cards for Hanekom and Sergeal Petersen.

Round 6: Vodacom Bulls 53-27 Connacht

The Bulls ran in seven tries on their return to Pretoria and there were 16 points for Jaco van der Walt as they bounced back strongly from defeat in Edinburgh.

Round 7: Vodacom Bulls 44-10 Hollywoodbets Sharks

Jake White's team encountered few problems against their South African rivals, with Gans and Akker van der Merwe both scoring two tries as the Bulls dominated.

Round 8: DHL Stormers 26-20 Vodacom Bulls

It was a much different story to the Sharks game in Cape Town, where the Bulls faded after a strong start to the game. Canan Moodie was among their try-scorers.

Round 9: Vodacom Bulls 30-28 Emirates Lions

Goosen's penalty two minutes from time gave the Bulls a thrilling victory as the Lions tried to hold out for a memorable win on the road.

Round 10: Emirates Lions 10-25 Vodacom Bulls

Any chance of the Lions avenging their loss in Pretoria was undone by the Bulls' second-half show of strength as van der Merwe, Coetzee and Kriel scored second-half tries.

Round 11: Vodacom Bulls 40-22 DHL Stormers

The Bulls were in no mood to suffer a second defeat against the Stormers, powering home on the back of hooker Johan Grobbelaar's try double and 20 points from Goosen.

Round 12: Dragons 10-31 Vodacom Bulls

The Bulls had few concerns in Newport as Papier and Grobbelaar featured among the try-scorers to give their team a fourth successive URC win.

Round 13: Leinster 47-14 Vodacom Bulls

Any hope of backing up the win against Dragons by challenging fellow competition heavyweights Leinster was dashed on a sobering night in Dublin. The Bulls conceded five second-half tries.

Round 14: Vodacom Bulls 22-27 Munster

There was more misery for the Bulls against Irish opposition as they were undone by scrum-half Conor Murray's 73rd-minute try. Goosen had earlier been sent off.

Round 15: Vodacom Bulls 61-24 Ospreys

There was no stopping the Bulls as they moved effortlessly through the gears to run in eight tries, including doubles for Moodie and Kurt-Lee Arendse.

Round 16: Vodacom Bulls 40-34 Glasgow

The teams shared eight tries at Loftus Versfeld in an outstanding game as the Bulls withstood a strong second-half fightback from Glasgow. Chris Smith's 20-point haul proved crucial.

Round 17: Vodacom Bulls 56-35 Benetton

Another high-scoring encounter comfortably went the Bulls' way, with Moodie claiming a hat-trick among the nine tries his team posted against adventurous opponents.

Round 18: Hollywoodbets Sharks 14-26 Vodacom Bulls

The Bulls completed their regular-season fixtures with a win in Durban. Van der Merwe scored two second-half tries as they warmed up for the quarter-finals.

Quarter-final: Vodacom Bulls 30-23 Benetton

Tries from Arendse (2) and Kriel and 15 points from the boot of Goosen helped the Bulls overcome a dogged display from the Italians.

Leinster's route to the semi-finals

Round 1: Glasgow Warriors 43-25 Leinster

Without their World Cup contingent, it was a losing start to the season for Leinster at Scotstoun despite tries from Jack Boyle, Lee Barron and Tommy O’Brien.

Round 2: Leinster 34-13 Hollywoodbets Sharks

Max Deegan marked his 100th appearance for Leinster with a try at a wet RDS Arena as they bounced back with a bonus-point victory.

Round 3: Leinster 36-27 Edinburgh

Leo Cullen’s young side held on having led 21-6 at half-time to run out five-try winners at home for the second week running.

Round 4: Dragons 10-33 Leinster

Dan Sheehan, Thomas Clarkson, Ciaran Frawley, Charlie Ngatai and Scott Penny scored Leinster’s tries as they claimed a third successive bonus-point win.

Round 5: Leinster 54-5 Scarlets

On a night that saw nine of Ireland's World Cup players return to action, Leinster moved to the top of the table after putting a young Scarlets side to the sword at the RDS.

Round 6: Leinster 21-16 Munster

A classy 65th-minute finish from Jordan Larmour gave Leinster a decisive third try in their derby win in front of a 49,246-strong crowd at the Aviva Stadium.

Round 7: Connacht 22-24 Leinster

Frawley's last-gasp try saw Leinster snatch a derby win from the jaws of defeat and end Connacht's near year-long unbeaten run at the Sportsground.

Round 8: Munster 3-9 Leinster

Harry Byrne kicked Leinster to a festive derby victory over Munster at a wet and windy Thomond Park as they returned to the top of the table.

Round 9: Leinster 21-22 Ulster

Leinster saw their seven-match unbeaten run in the competition ended as Ulster claimed only their third win in 22 visits to the RDS Arena.

Round 10: Leinster 47-18 Benetton

Academy scrum-half Ben Murphy notched his first senior try as Leinster went over for seven in total in a comfortable triumph.

Round 11: Cardiff 20-33 Leinster

Leinster overcame fierce resistance to claim a bonus-point victory at the Arms Park, replacement prop Michael Milne with two second-half tries.

Round 12: Zebre Parma 7-31 Leinster

Rob Russell scored two of Leinster’s five tries as the Irish province continued their relentless play-off push with victory in Parma.

Round 13: Leinster 47-14 Vodacom Bulls

Leinster laid down a significant marker to their rivals with a statement victory over the Bulls in a top-of-the-table clash in Dublin, outscoring their opponents by seven tries to one.

Round 14: Emirates Lions 44-12 Leinster

Showing 13 changes to the side which sealed a place in the Investec Champions Cup semi-finals a week earlier, Leinster suffered just a second loss in 13 URC matches.

Round 15: DHL Stormers 42-12 Leinster

A dominant performance from the Stormers knocked Leinster off the top of the table as the Irish side lost back-to-back games in the URC for the first time this season.

Round 16: Leinster 61-14 Ospreys

Larmour scored his first senior hat-trick as the Irish province produced a second-half masterclass at the RDS Arena to return to winning ways in style.

Round 17: Ulster 23-21 Leinster

John Cooney slotted over a late long-range penalty to earn Ulster a dramatic win but a losing bonus point assured Leinster of a top-four finish.

Round 18: Leinster 33-7 Connacht

Leinster bounced back from their Investec Champions Cup final heartache to finish the regular season with a bonus-point win at the RDS Arena.

Quarter-final: Leinster 43-20 Ulster

Leinster ran in six tries, with James Lowe bagging a brace, as they brushed aside their Irish rivals at the Aviva Stadium.

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