Bulls trampled by awesome Leinster

By Lucky Vince Pienaar

It’s hard to remember that only a week ago, the South African teams in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship (VURC) not only played excellent rugby, but also played winning rugby.

➤ It was fascinating to watch the first 40 minutes as the Bulls held the line against the much-favoured Leinster. They played disciplined, well-coached rugby and they even won four straight penalties off the first four scrums.

But it was clear the Bulls were paying with energy they could not afford to expend and the warning lights started flashing halfway through the first half when Josh van der Flier sliced through the Bulls’ backline to score under the posts with Ronan Kelleher scoring ten minutes later.

But Johan Goosen kept the Bulls in the game with three penalties and Kurt-Lee Arendse’s great try gave the Bulls a two point lead going into halftime.

But then came the second half and Leinster kicked into high gear and scored no fewer than five dominant tries while the Bulls never came close to scoring.

Leinster (7 tries) 47-14 (1 try) Vodacom Bulls
Leinster tries: Josh van der Flier, Ronan Kelleher, James Lowe, Michael Milne, Dan Sheehan, Jack Conan, Liam Turner
Bulls tries: Kurt-Lee Arendse

➤ Those lively Sharks from last week, unfortunately, were not on the park against Edinburgh.

Yes, they won the match, but it was a grind that lacked imagination and when Eben Etzebeth went off it went totally flat.

Fortunately Aphelele Fassi was on the field. The Weekend Special played the game of his life and was a worthy man of the match.

Hollywoodbets Sharks (3 tries) 23-13 (1 try) Edinburgh
Sharks tries: Aphelele Fassi, Lukhanyo Am, Phendulani Buthelezi
Edinburgh try: Boan Venter

➤ So the dreams ends for the Lions – and in a very disappointing way.

For 70 minutes they seemed to drift around the field, as if they were in a warm-up practice run and the Ospreys took full advantage. Even live-wire Sanele Nohama wasn’t switched on and it showed on the score board.

With ten minutes to go the Lions woke up and scored two excellent tries, but starting to play when it’s too late is an unforgiveable sin. A late try by the Ospreys gave them a deserved and convincing victory.

Ospreys (5 tries) 36-21 (3 tries) Emirates Lions
Ospreys tries: Tom Botha, Sam Parry, Morgan Morris, Lewis Lloyd, Kieran Williams

➤ The Stormers could not have had a worse first half if they tried, with one mistake after another.

Amazingly both Manie Libbok and John Cooney missed two penalties each from right in front of the posts and Ulster’s try was their only score of the first half.

A moment to remember was when Springboks, Frans Malherbe for the Stormers and Steven Kitshoff faced each other in one scrum. It has never happened before and it may never happen again . . . and Malherbe won a penalty!

The Stormers came out in the second half and played at pace and ruled the match – except it took until the 73rd minute for them to take the lead through a try by Evan Roos.

DHL Stormers (1 try) 13-7 (1 try) Ulster
Stormers try: Evan Roos
Ulster try: Nick Timoney

Pictured above: Leinster

Image source: @leinsterrugby


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