Marcell Coetzee: Rainbow Cup final not a holiday trip to Italy for Bulls
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CAPE TOWN – While there is great excitement in the Bulls squad following their arrival in Italy, captain Marcell Coetzee has warned his teammates that it is “not a holiday trip” ahead of Saturday’s Rainbow Cup final against Benetton.
The Bulls landed in Treviso on Tuesday after flying via Amsterdam, and they are the first South African team to participate in European competition since the Cheetahs and Southern Kings took part in the PRO14 previously.
A new-look United Rugby Championship will start in September, with the Bulls being joined by the Sharks, Stormers and Lions, along with teams from Ireland, Wales, Scotland and Italy.
But Springbok loose forward Coetzee – who has taken over the leadership reins from the injured Duane Vermeulen – said that the Bulls are not thinking of Saturday’s final (6.15pm SA time kickoff) as an opportunity to show Europe what South African rugby is all about.
“The main thing stays the main thing – we’ve got another opportunity to hoist a trophy this weekend. The whole mindset around that is to focus our energy on that. If we could maybe create inspiration for other teams as well, fair enough. But the mindset is to focus on the weekend and getting the job done,” Coetzee said from Treviso on Wednesday.
“We’ve been watching Treviso’s recent games and we’ve been studying them, and they play really incredible rugby and have some personnel who have done well for them. So, it might just come down to that.
“There’s a great deal of excitement in the camp. It’s awesome to travel overseas and play a European side who have been in top form. We have settled down really well. The guys are high on energy and just excited for the opportunity at the weekend.
“I think you draw on the excitement with that (travelling to Italy). Everyone was so keen to just hop on the plane, and to explore new horizons. There’s great energy amongst the group at the moment, but in saying that, it’s not a holiday trip – it’s still business at the end of the day, and looking forward to the challenge.
“Let the main thing stay the main thing, and if we get our preparations right, hopefully we can come home with some silverware.”
Coach Jake White is set to name his match-23 on Friday, having taken a squad of 28 over to Italy.
The Bulls are without Vermeulen and three other Boks who are in camp in Bloemfontein – flyhalf Morné Steyn, prop Trevor Nyakane and flank Marco van Staden – while Elrigh Louw, Embrose Papier and Arno Botha are also injured.