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Bulls in lucky escape against table-topping Glasgow

MATCH REPORT: The Bulls bagged five points, but they almost let it slip against the table-topping Glasgow Warriors in a thrilling United Rugby Championship encounter at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.


The Bulls survived a sensational comeback from the Warriors in the final quarter – hanging on to win 40-34 in an eight-try thriller in a steaming Pretoria.

Trailing 10-37, a three-try blitz closed the gap to six points and set up a nailbiting finish.

The home team managed to hang on, but the Warriors managed to cement their top spot by taking two bonus points from the game.

The home team will finish the weekend in the top four – anywhere from second to fourth, depending on the outcome of the later matches on Saturday.

* To recap all the drama, CLICK HERE!

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From the outset, it was blatantly obvious the Warriors were using ‘delaying tactics’ at every opportunity – to counter the 30°C heat and high altitude (1350 metres above sea level).

The number of ‘injury’ stoppages reached ludicrous proportions in the opening 10 minutes.


The referee eventually decided to play on and let the Glasgow medical staff deal with the fake injuries.

Despite a fast start – a trick play at a line-out inside the Bulls’ 22-metre area saw flank Matt Fagerson score to put the visitors on the board first – the Bulls settled into a high-tempo game of swift passing and brutal forward charges.

Tries by Armand van der Merwe (also a trick play at a line-out), Cameron Hanekom (tap-and-go from a penalty closer to the line) and Elrich Louw (a counter started by Kurt-Lee Arendse inside his 22-metre area) saw the home team lead 24-10 at the half-time break.

It also didn’t help that the Warriors lost their captain Kyle Steyn for 10 minutes midway through the opening half – after a spear tackle on Van der Merwe saw him being yellow-carded.


Canan Moodie got the bonus-point try early in the second half – some sublime handling down the right touchline.

Glasgow continued to slow the game down – at least attempted to – but the Bulls managed to lift the tempo when they had control of the possession.

It did not stop the Glasgow assistants from constantly running onto the field looking for ‘injured’ players and stopping the clock.

Two Chris Smith penalties blew the lead out to 24 points.

However, tries by wings Kyle Steyn and Sebastian Cancelliere, as well as replacement Duncan Weir, narrowed the gap to six points (31-37) going into the final 10 minutes.

A Chris Smith penalty with three minutes remaining took it back to a two-score game – 40-31.

However, Weir had one last chance to salvage a second bonus point – landing the penalty from 45 metres out to make it 40-34 to the Bulls at the full-time whistle.

The scorers

For the Bulls
Tries: Van der Merwe, Hanekom, Louw, Moodie
Cons: Smith 4
Pens: Smith 3

For Glasgow Warriors
Tries: Fagerson, Steyn, Cancelliere,
Cons: Horne, Jordan, Weir 2
Pens: Horne, Weir

Yellow card: Kyle Steyn (Glasgow Warriors, 16 – foul play, spear tackle)


Bulls: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Canan Moodie, 13 David Kriel, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 10 Chris Smith, 9 Embrose Papier, 8 Cameron Hanekom, 7 Elrigh Louw, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Ruan Nortje (captain), 4 Ruan Vermaak, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Akker van der Merwe, 1 Gerhard Steenekamp.
Replacements: 16 Johan Grobbelaar, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima, 18 Francois Klopper, 19 Reinhardt Ludwig, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Izak Burger, 22 Jaco van der Walt, 23 Devon Williams.

Glasgow Warriors: 15 Josh McKay, 14 Kyle Steyn (captain), 13 Stafford McDowall, 12 Sione Tuipulotu, 11 Sebastian Cancelliere, 10 Tom Jordan, 9 George Horne, 8 Jack Dempsey, 7 Rory Darge, 6 Matt Fagerson, 5 Scott Cummings, 4 Gregor Brown, 3 Murphy Walker, 2 Grant Stewart, 1 Jamie Bhatti.
Replacements: 16 Johnny Matthews, 17 Nathan McBeth, 18 Zander Fagerson, 19 Max Williamson, 20 Euan Ferrie, 21 Henco Venter, 22 Jamie Dobie, 23 Duncan Weir.

Referee: Ben Whitehouse (Wales)
Assistant referees: AJ Jacobs (South Africa) and Dylen November (South Africa)
TMO: Craig Evans (Wales)


* Picture credit: @BlueBullsRugby


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