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Bulls leave it late for bonus-point win

MATCH REPORT: The Bulls cemented second place on the United Rugby Championship standings with a 31-10 bonus-point win over the hapless Dragons at Rodney Parade in Newport on Saturday.


Despite seldom moving out of second gear, the Bulls cruised to a four-tries-to-one win.

Their at-times apathetic approach meant they did not get the fourth try – for the bonus point – till the 80th minute.

The hosts competed strongly throughout, but Bulls always had the additional power and that touch of class to ensure a bonus-point victory that leaves them four points behind leaders Leinster.

Kurt-Lee Arendse, Mpilo Gumede, Embrose Papier and Johan Grobbelaar scored the South African side’s tries with Chris Smith converting all four and adding a penalty.

The Dragons responded with a Corey Baldwin try that was converted by Will Reed, and a Cai Evans penalty, but it was not enough to prevent a 10th defeat in 12 league outings this season.


Dragons began promisingly with well-judged kicks from Evans and Steff Hughes keeping Bulls penned in their own 22 in the opening 10 minutes.

However, the hosts did not look likely to capitalise on their attacking platform and it was the South Africans who grabbed the first points when Smith slotted over a 16th-minute penalty.

Dragons were under pressure in the set-scrums but were still able to maintain possession and were rewarded with a penalty from Evans to leave the scores level at the end of a competitive first quarter.

The home side’s defence was tested when powerful flanker Marco van Staden burst through tackles from Rhodri Williams and Evans to take him deep into opposition territory but a penalty allowed Dragons to relieve the pressure.


The Welsh region then suffered a few hammer blows in quick succession. First they lost hooker Brodie Coghlan to injury before Reed was sin-binned for kicking the ball away in an off-side position, with Bulls able to benefit when a long pass from Willie Le Roux sent Arendse over.

Reed was able to return with no further damage to the scoreboard but his side still trailed 10-3 at the interval.

After the restart, Bulls brought the game to life with a stunning score.

A neat off-load from Canan Moodie created space for Arendse down the right flank. The ball was recycled for Le Roux to place a cross-field kick into the hands of Devon Williams who provided Gumede with the scoring pass.

Dogged Dragons kept their line intact for a long period but late tries from Papier and Grobbelaar gave Bulls their bonus point with Baldwin picking up a consolation score for the hosts.


Man of the Match

Veteran Bulls fullback Willie Le Roux was polished throughout and it was his superbly-judged cross-field kick which played a huge part in the best try of the night.

Play of the match

Bulls exploded into life in the second half with a superb score when clever inter-play between Canan Moodie and Kurt-Lee Arendse created the space for Willie Le Roux to launch a cross-field kick which Devon Williams collected on the opposite flank to send Mpilo Gumede over.

The scorers

For the Dragons
Try: Baldwin
Con: Evans
Pen: Evans

For the Bulls
Tries: Arendse, Gumede, Papier, Grobbelaar
Cons: Smith 4
Pen: Smith

Yellow cards: Will Reed (Dragons. cynical play, kicking the ball out of the scrumhalf’s hands), Elliot Dee Dragons, 80 – cynical foul, slapping the ball out of the scrumhalf’s hand)


Dragons: 15 Cai Evans, 14 Ewan Rosser, 13 Joe Westwood, 12 Steff Hughes (captain), 11 Corey Baldwin, 10 Will Reed, 9 Rhodri Williams, 8 Taine Basham, 7 Sean Lonsdale, 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 George Nott, 4 Matthew Screech, 3 Chris Coleman, 2 Brodie Coghlan, 1 Rhodri Jones.
Replacements: 16 Elliot Dee, 17 Rodrigo Martinez, 18 Luke Yendle, 19 Ben Carter, 20 Harri Keddie, 21 Aaron Wainwright, 22 Dane Blacker, 23 Jared Rosser.

Bulls: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Sebastian de Klerk, 13 Canan Moodie, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 10 Chris Smith, 9 Izak Burger, 8 Marcell Coetzee, 7 Mpilo Gumede, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Ruan Nortje (captain), 4 Ruan Vermaak, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Jan-Hendrik Wessels, 1 Gerhard Steenekamp.
Replacements: 16 Johan Grobbelaar, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima, 18 Mornay Smith, 19 Reinhardt Ludwig, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Johan Goosen, 23 Devon Williams.

Referee: Eoghan Cross (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Ben Breakspear (Wales), Elgan Williams (Wales)
TMO: Mark Patton (Ireland)

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