Bulls claim famous win over Leinster in Dublin.
MATCH REPORT: The Bulls are the first South African team to record a win at the RDS Arena in Dublin.
*To recap all the action CLICK HERE!!!
Heading to Ireland as the underdogs, the Bulls dug deep to secure a 27-26 win over Leinster on Friday.
The Bulls forwards set the tone on a windy and rainy at the RDS Arena, dominating the collisions and stopping Leinster from gaining any momentum in the set pieces.
Their defence was also superb, restricting Leinster’s famous attack in a way seldom seen in Dublin and forcing the hosts to make errors, and although the hosts outscored the men from Pretoria by four tries to three, they failed to get any form of proper momentum, mainly due to the Bulls’ superb tackling.
The Bulls also challenged hard on the ground, winning turnovers at the rucks, and they also stole a number of crucial Leinster lineouts to ensure they stay in the fight.
The game was played at a massive pace with both teams hammering hard on attack, the Bulls using strong driving play mixed with quick ball, while Leinster’s backline dazzled with great handling.
The visitors were under pressure early, and Leinster made them pay with Dan Sheehan (hooker) going over after a clever kick into space in the ninth minute.
But the Bulls weren’t rattled and after Chris Smith (flyhalf) got them on the board with a 14th-minute penalty goal, they built some momentum and set up camp in the hosts’ half. Canan Moodie went over for what looked like a great try, but the TMO intervened as the Junior Springbok fullback just lost the ball over the line.
The Bulls were on advantage though and from a quick tap penalty, Johan Grobbelaar (hooker) crashed over from what looked like a primary school training ground move in the 18th minute. Smith’s conversion put the visitors in the lead by 10-7.
Seven minutes later, Bulls captain Marcell Coetzee continued with his prolific try-scoring rate as he went over under the uprights after yet another physical surge upfield by the visitors.
With Leinster 17-7 down late in the first half, the hometown crowd were stunned to silence, but Irish international Robbie Henshaw finally got them more points when he scored a brilliant try down the left after another strong move by the hosts. Ross Byrne added his second conversion and after another few minutes of proper tit for tat, the teams went into the break with the Bulls leading by 17-14.
The second half started evenly, with the Bulls building on the momentum from the first half, and 13 minutes in, they set up a superb maul that was brought to ground illegally which led not only to a penalty try to the visitors, but also a yellow card to Leinster’s captain, James Ryan.
Leading by 24-14, the visitors held well until the 70th minute, when Rory O’Loughlin (wing) went over for Leinster’s third try from a great backline move from a lineout.
Ireland flyhalf Jonny Sexton missed the conversion, which was crucial, especially when Morne Steyn (replacement flyhalf) kicked a 76th-minute penalty goal to put the South Africans eight points in front, and despite a late converted try by the hosts, it was not enough to prevent a famous Bulls victory.
Man of the match: It was absolutely incredible performance from the Bulls pack. Marcell Coetzee , Ruan Nortje and Arno Botha were incredible. In the back, Canon Moodie was the standout. Our nog goes to Bulls hooker Johan Grobbelaar, who not only was physical in defence but also impressive on attack. He scored a try and his line-out throws were very accurate.
Tries: Sheehan, Henshaw, O’Loughlin, Healy
Cons: Byrne 2, Sexton
Tries: Grobbelaar, Coetzee, Penalty try
Cons: Smith 2
Pens: Smith, Steyn
Yellow card: James Ryan (Leinster, 52 – deliberately foul play; collapsing the maul)
Leinster: 15 Jimmy O’Brien, 14 Jordan Larmour, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 Rory O’Loughlin, 10 Ross Byrne, 9 Jamison Gibson-Park, 8 Jack Conan, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Caelan Doris, 5 James Ryan (captain), 4 Joe McCarthy, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Dan Sheehan, 1 Andrew Porter.
Replacements: 16 Seán Cronin, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Michael Ala’alatoa, 19 Ross Molony, 20 Ryan Baird, 21 Luke McGrath, 22 Johnny Sexton, 23 Ciarán Frawley.
Bulls: 15 Canan Moodie, 14 David Kriel, 13 Cornal Hendricks, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Madosh Tambwe, 10 Chris Smith, 9 Izak Burger, 8 Elrigh Louw, 7 Arno Botha, 6 Marcell Coetzee (captain), 5 Ruan Nortje, 4 Walt Steenkamp, 3 Mornay Smith, 2 Johan Grobbelaar, 1 Gerhard Steenekamp.
Replacements: 16 Bismarck du Plessis, 17 Simphiwe Mantanzima, 18 Robert Hunt, 19 Janko Swanepoel, 20 WJ Steenkamp, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Morné Steyn, 23 Kurt-Lee Arendse.
Referee: Andrea Piardi (Italy)
Assistant referees: Craig Evans (Wales), Gianluca Gnecchi (Italy)
TMO: Matteo Lipperini (Italy)