Bulls back on track with aa bonus win against Ospreys

NIZAM Carr of Bulls tackled by Kieran Williams of Ospreys during United Rugby Championship match match against Ospreys at Loftus Versfeld Stadium. | BackpagePix

NIZAM Carr of Bulls tackled by Kieran Williams of Ospreys during United Rugby Championship match match against Ospreys at Loftus Versfeld Stadium. | BackpagePix

Published Apr 27, 2024


Chris Busby is the ref. Andrew Brace TMO

The Bulls are back on track in the United Rugby Championship (URC) after a convincing and easy bonus point win over the Ospreys.

They scored nine tries in the 61-24 romp that kept them in the running for a top-four position, but also importantly kept the Welsh side from gaining any points after their exploits against the Stormers last weekend.

Springbok wingers Kurt-Lee Arendse and Canan Moodie scored a brace in the victory that solidified their spot in the URC’s top four.

It was total domination by the Loftus Versfeld side’s forwards as they laid the platform for the victory through their physicality and superiority when it came to handling the thin air in Pretoria.

From the onset, the Bulls’ driving maul got the upper hand when hooker Johan Grobbelaar scored the first try off the back of a rolling maul within the first 10 minutes of the game.

The opportunity was set up by some strong go-forward carries by the likes of flanker-captain Elrigh Louw.

In his 50th cap for the Bulls, Louw was brilliant as a kick-receiver and carried all too happily as he took his team over the gainline time and again.

Three more tries in the next 30 minutes of play secured a halftime lead of 26-10 and after sealing the fourth and bonus point try in the first half already, it was just a matter of how much the Pretoria side would win as their opposition presented little of a challenge even after strengthening their squad with some Welsh internationals following the win in Cape Town.

Thanks to the platform laid by the forwards with their carries, scrums, and lineouts, backs like Moodie and Arendse, together with Player of the Match David Kriel and veteran Willie le Roux had a good time running their visitors off their feet. If they cut out a couple of errors in the first half, there could've been more tries scored against the Welshman.

But nevertheless, it turned out a good day for Louw and his troops as the forwards and backs combined brilliantly in the second forty to take the game away from the Ospreys. Even when their visitors threatened with their attack, the Bulls never panicked and defended well to keep them from scoring a fourth try.

Kriel was not just defensively solid but also had a hand in several of the Bulls’ tries for his significant contribution.

Like setting up Moodie for his first when he intercepted an Ospreys attack in his half and carried the ball to send Moodie away after drawing in the last defender, and passing over him to send the young Springbok away.

He also put the grubber through that saw Moodie run in his second and offloaded to put the lively scrumhalf Embrose Papier in for his five-pointer.

Even without flyhalf Johan Goosen and fellow Springbok players Marcel Coetzee and Marco van Staden, the Bulls were brilliant in putting away a much-fancied Osprey side.

Head coach Jake White will be pleased by how they responded in this game, snapping a two-match losing streak and gaining some needed confidence with three games to go in the round-robin stages of the URC.

Their next fixture is a tough home game against Scottish side Glasgow Warriors who, at the time of print, was the top side on the points table after leap-frogging Leinster who faced the Stormers late yesterday evening.

Benetton and the Sharks in Durban are the final two opponents of the Pretoria side and if they can produce another performance like yesterday against the Ospreys, there could be an opportunity for the Jake White-coached outfit to end amongst the top-two sides on the log.

Bulls 61 (26): Tries: Johan Grobbelaar, David Kriel, Kurt-Lee Arendse (2), Canan Moodie (2), Embrose Papier, Penalty Try, Willie le Roux. Conversions: Chris Smith (6), Jaco van der Walt.

Ospreys 24 (10): Tries: Luke Davies, Keiran Williams, Keelan Giles. Conversions: Jack Walsh (3). Penalty: Walsh.