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Ken Borland

Bulls cash in on overwhelming physicality advantage

Posted on April 21, 2022 by Ken

The Bulls cashed in on their overwhelming physicality advantage to score eight tries and hammer the Dragons 55-20 in their United Rugby Championship match at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday night.

Relentless physicality

The Bulls were relentless in outmuscling their opponents on the gain-line, in the mauls and the set-pieces, their ball-carriers just bashing the Dragons defence into submission. The Bulls were efficient in scoring from close range, as loose forwards Arno Botha and Marcell Coetzee both burrowed over for tries, but they were also clinical in turning turnovers into points and hooker Johan Grobbelaar, Coetzee and lock Walt Steenkamp carried strongly in the open spaces as well.

Heads-up rugby to exploit space

The Bulls were not overly-reliant on their kicking game, but they used it to very good effect at times, with scrumhalf Embrose Papier certainly getting the better of his opposite number Gonzalo Bertranou in terms of the effectiveness of their box-kicks.

When there was loose ball left lying around, the Bulls were quick to pounce, their heads-up rugby allowing them to swiftly identify and target the space.

Fullback Kurt-Lee Arendse’s first try came after Papier had snaffled the loose ball from a Bertranou kick that was too short and darted down the left touchline, and in the second half, Arendse scored the try of the game after replacement wing Cornal Hendricks knocked another box-kick back to him. Arendse ghosted through several defenders and then put in a marvellous shimmy to get rid of the last two tacklers to complete a brilliant 70m try.

Set-piece excellence

The Bulls used their edge in the scrums to further pressurise the Dragons and their excellent lineout work provided a great platform for not only their powerful rolling maul but some neat attacking moves as well.

Not all one-way traffic

The outgunned Dragons were all heart and they did manage to score three tries, while also ensuring the Bulls had to do some stern defensive work. The home side put their all into those duties as well.

It was not the perfect match for the Bulls, not all of the facets of their game fired at 100% and there were periods when they went off the boil due to a loss of focus and some unforced errors.

But a bonus point win and a place inside the top-eight of the URC log means they will be all-smiles at Loftus Versfeld.


BullsTries: Arno Botha, Lionel Mapoe (2), Kurt-Lee Arendse (2), Johan Grobbelaar, Marcel Coetzee, Zak Burger. Conversions: Chris Smith (5), Morne Steyn. Penalty: Smith.

DragonsTries: Rio Dyer, Jared Rosser, Sam Davies. Conversion: Davies. Penalty: Davies.

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