Elrigh aims to bring more ‘spice’ to Bulls and Boks

Elrigh Louw’s direct approach adds vital physicality to the Bulls loose trio. Photo: BackpagePix

Elrigh Louw’s direct approach adds vital physicality to the Bulls loose trio. Photo: BackpagePix

Published May 15, 2024


Despite their late disintegration against Glasgow, there is “not a lot to change” for the Bulls in Saturday’s United Rugby Championship clash against Benetton at Loftus Versfeld (2pm kick-off).

That is the view of loose-forward ‘bruiser’ Elrigh Louw, who was one of the standout performers and scored a try in the 40-34 victory over the Scottish log leaders last weekend.

The Bulls were leading 37-10 heading into the final quarter, but needed a late Chris Smith penalty to secure the win – while still allowing the visitors to grab a last-gasp bonus point via a Duncan Weir penalty.

That handed the Glaswegians two bonus points to take them up to 60, with Leinster on 59, Munster on 58 and the Bulls on 56, with two league games to go.

“It was our goal to get five points, and we got it right. Unfortunately, we allowed them to get those extra bonus points, which sees them above us on the log,” Louw said yesterday.

“But we are positive and learnt a few lessons, and it’s good to be able to learn lessons and still win games ... We went away from our plan a bit at the end of the match, but I thought we delivered a very good performance.

“I don’t think there’s a lot to change. We had an awesome attitude throughout the week and the game.

“There were just little things that crept in during the last few minutes – penalties, soft moments on defence ... But not a lot to change.”

Benetton are coming off a crucial 25-24 triumph over the Sharks in Durban, which saw them move up to 48 points in eighth position. They famously beat the Bulls in the Rainbow Cup final in 2021 in Treviso, and Louw knows that the Italians won’t be pushovers on Saturday.

“I think they are a quality team with a lot of internationals, and if you look at how Italy’s rugby is going at the moment, they are definitely a force to be reckoned with and not to take lightly,” the blindside flank said.

“You shouldn’t look at teams differently, and we prepare like we always would. But it (the 2021 final) still hurts, and the guys are sour and probably will always be sour over that loss in Italy.

The powerful 24-year-old played in two Tests in 2022, and was called up to a Springbok alignment camp earlier this year. Now that he is concentrating on playing at No 7, he hopes to get another opportunity in the national team this season.

“It’s definitely a goal of mine to play some more Springbok Tests, so I am just focusing on performing well in a Bulls jersey – do what I can, and be good in the things that I can control,” Louw said.

“That’s just the way I see it at the moment: if I play well in a Bulls jersey, and it is meant to be, then I’ll get a call-up to play some more Tests hopefully.

“With the injuries, we couldn’t get into a good rhythm as a (Bulls) trio. But at the moment, we have a nice rhythm, and every game brings his own spice into the game – Marco (van Staden) is good on the ground, Cameron (Hanekom) is nice and explosive and I am maybe a bit physical.

“So, I think we complement each other well at the moment, and I think it’s working well,” he concluded.