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Bulls leading the URC's scoring charts

SPOTLIGHT: It isn’t only crowd figures that have ballooned since the inception of the United Rugby Championship – South African franchises have also given the tournament some of its biggest scorelines.


The Bulls’ 61-22 scoreline against the Ospreys on Saturday in bouncing back from their defeat at the hands of Munster may have been a massive win for them, but it wasn’t their biggest in the URC.

Since the inception of the competition, the Bulls have given the championship the biggest amount of ballooned scorelines in its short history, something that might at least partially be ascribed to the fact that playing at altitude, where a game can easily run away from you in the rarified atmosphere, is still alien to most of the visiting overseas teams.

The Bulls’ biggest win came on April 15 last year when they smashed Italian side Zebre 78-12 at Loftus Versfeld, the site of all their biggest wins as they amassed an exceptional record of 21 wins out of 22 matches since the URC began.

A week later they beat a second-string Leinster team 62-7 to end off their 2022/3 season league fixtures on a high, but lost a quarterfinal in Cape Town to the Stormers a week later.

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This season the Bulls have hit 60 twice, first against the Scarlets in round one as they opened their account with a 63-21 win and then again on Saturday against the Ospreys. In addition to this their record against Welsh sides is exceptional, losing just one of their 12 games against Welsh franchises, a loss to Scarlets away in January 2023.

The Bulls aren’t alone in their big wins this season- with the Sharks hitting 69 against Dragons in Durban in November last year and the Lions scoring 61 against Zebre on the same night at Ellis Park. Ironically on that same night the Bulls came close with a 53-27 win over Connacht at Loftus Versfeld.

The blowout scorelines are nothing new at times for the URC, as the inaugural 2021/2 season saw Munster beat Dragons 64-3 in Round 13 and Benetton beat Cardiff 69-21 in Round 18. Leinster topped that with a massive 76-14 win over Glasgow Warriors in the quarterfinals.

The 2022/3 season saw just two results topping 60 points – both by the Bulls as described above.


And ironically, none of the teams that scored the blowout wins went on to win the URC title that year, showing that while these anomalies may be there in a championship league, they don’t necessarily mean trophies at the end of the season.

Still, it underlines how tough the South African franchises have made it to play for foreign sides, with just 11 victories for overseas clubs coming in 68 matches in South Africa thus far.

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In the inaugural season in 2021/2, even though conversely the South African sides struggled abroad, just two local victories were recorded by foreign teams, as opposed to 24 home victories.

In 2022/3 the woes of the Sharks and Lions saw that rise to six wins, and one draw, with 19 games going the way of the home sides while this season there have been 14 South African home franchise wins, and just four wins for touring sides – two of those for Munster in the last fortnight, underlining how the “don’t give an inch” temperament that installed them as the defending champions.

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