France-based Springbok playmaker Dillyn Leyds has tipped the Vodacom Bulls and Stormers to contest the Vodacom United Rugby Championship final.
The Bulls take on Leinster in the weekend’s first URC semi-final at the RDS Arena on Friday night, before the Stormers host Ulster in the other last-four decider in Cape Town on Saturday.
In a wide-ranging interview with Netwerk24, the 10-Test-capped Leyds suggested that the Bulls have the all-round game and tactical nous to match the more fancied Leinster in Dublin.
He has also backed the playing style of his former side the Stormers to be the undoing of Ulster at Cape Town Stadium.
Leyds, who was named Man of the match after La Rochelle’s victory over Leinster in the European Champions Cup final two weeks ago, said: “It will be difficult for the Bulls because Leinster is very formidable in Dublin. However, the Bulls have played incredibly good rugby in the last few months. Their pack of forwards is especially excellent.
“I think the Bulls can definitely cut it. They are in a similar situation as we were two weeks ago. They have nothing to lose.
“I have not worked with Jake White but he is clearly a very good coach who can win trophies. He will probably come up with some masterplan.
“It’s the kind of thing the Bulls like … guys like Ryan Nortje and Marcell Coetzee will be important players for them, and I think they have the backline with talent in the wide channels to win.
“The Bulls also like to be the outsider. They like to prove you wrong and I think that will be their attitude.”
A former Western Province academy graduate, Leyds joined La Rochelle in 2020 after six years with the Stormers and WP.
The 29-year-old has been impressed by the success of John Dobson’s charges, who he believes can overcome the absence of the injured Damian Willemse to defeat Ulster.
Leyds added: “The building blocks for that were already laid a few seasons ago. It just took the right guys to drive it and that’s happened now. There is togetherness among all the players.
“Their playing style and the pace in their game put many teams under pressure. If things get slow and it has to be fought out in tight phases, they have guys like Steven Kitshoff, Frans Malherbe, Marvin Orie and Evan Roos dominating up front.
“The Stormers are such a well-balanced team that they can still win despite the loss [of Willemse].”
Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images
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