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Bulls stamp their authority with massive victory

MATCH REPORT: The Bulls recorded their biggest ever victory in the Champions Cup and kept their hopes of the last 16 alive after their convincing 31-17 victory over the Bristol Bears at Ashton Gate on Saturday evening.

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It was a big statement from the Bulls and started with the very first scrum of the match in the first minute which saw the visitors crush the opposition and winning a penalty.

The second penalty of the game also went to the Bulls and Johan Goosen immediately pointed to the posts. The kick went straight down the Park and the Bulls bagged early first points.

The men in blue were controlling things and then Goosen earned himself a yellow card for a deliberate knock-down.

But the Bulls were not deterred by the numerical disadvantage as Sergeal Petersen scored after his side advanced into the Bear’s 22 for the first time in the game.

The wing had been the Bull’s best player in the early stanza.

Centre David Kriel stepped up for the conversion and sent it cleanly through from the sideline.

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But Bristol were not hard done by and quickly responded with a try through scrumhalf Kieran Marmion, converted by AJ MacGinty.

Shortly thereafter a decision by referee Mathieu Raynal disallowed a possible try by Reinhardt Ludwig, who went over the line, but it was deemed there was no grounding.

Wilco Louw unfortunately left the field after 30 minutes with what looked like an injured shoulder following a strong performance in the scrums. He was replaced by Khutha Mchunu.

The Bears had a torrid time in the scrums, and eventually captain Steven Luatua received a warning from Raynal.

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The penalties against the home-side were piling up, allowing Goosen to look up the sideline but they could not convert it to the points and they went into half-time leading by 10-7.

A yellow card to the Bear’s second tighthead Max Lahiff after a massive scrum by Gerhard Steenekamp reduced the Bears to 14 and would result in uncontested scrums.

With 13 players on the field as Gabriel Ibitoye had to leave the field, the quick thinking Goosen tapped quickly and the Bulls advantaged all the way to five metres from the Bear’s tryline. The home-side scrambled to get back to defend, but the Bulls still remained in the 22 of Bristol.

Bristol were trying to get Lahiff back on the field but play would not pause for them, and in that period the Bulls worked it upfield thanks to a brilliant break by Harold Vorster and lead to Mchunu to rumble over unopposed.

Bristol’s woes in the scrum continued and the task at hand seemed a tall order for the home-side.

With 20 minutes left on the clock, Elrigh Louw muscled his way over the whitewash through four defenders, stretching their lead to 24-7 after another Goosen conversion.

The bonus point try was scored in emphatic manner by an interception by hooker Jan-Hendrik Wessels and showed a clean pair of heels for the opposition.

Goosen calmly sent it through the uprights, taking the Bulls to 31 points to the seven of the Bears.

With eight minutes left on the clock, Louw got his marching orders for cynical play and the Bears scored their second try as Benhard Janse van Rensburg trotted over the line.

And then five minutes later, as the Bears threw everything at the Bulls, Magnus Bradbury flew off a ruck to dive over but this is being reviewed for possible obstruction after being given on the field.

The Bulls were more direct, more powerful and, in truth, better in nearly all facets.

Man of the Match: Devon Williams with his superior skills set, speed and interlinking with the rest of the team.

Scorers:

For Bears:
Tries: Marmion, Janse van Rensburg, Bradbury
Cons: MacGinty

For Bulls:
Tries: Petersen, Mchunu, Louw, Wessels
Cons: Kriel, Goosen 3
Pen: Goosen

Yellow cards: Johan Goosen (Bulls – 9’ deliberate knock-down), Max Lahiff (Bears – 43’ infringement in the scrum), Elrigh Louw (Bulls – 73’ cynical play)

Teams:

Bristol Bears: 15 Max Malins, 14 Noah Heward, 13 Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 12 James Williams, 11 Gabriel Ibitoye, 10 AJ MacGinty, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 Magnus Bradbury, 7 Dan Thomas, 6 Steven Luatua (c), 5 Joe Batley, 4 Josh Caulfield, 3 George Kloska, 2 Gabriel Oghre, 1 Sam Grahamslaw,
Replacements: 16 Will Capon, 17 Jake Woolmore, 18 Max Lahiff, 19 Joe Owen, 20 Jake Heenan, 21 Harry Randall, 22 Virimi Vakatawa, 23 Rich Lane

Bulls: 15 Devon Williams, 14 Sebastian de Klerk, 13 David Kriel, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Sergeal Petersen, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Embrose Papier, 8 Mpilo Gumede, 7 Elrigh Louw, 6 Marcell Coetzee (captain), 5 Reinhardt Ludwig, 4 Ruan Vermaak, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Jan-Hendrik Wessels, 1 Gerhard Steenekamp.
Replacements: 16 Simphiwe Matanzima, 17 Tiaan Lange, 18 Khutha Mchunu, 19 Ruan Nortjé, 20 Deon Slabbert, 21 Keagan Johannes, 22 Chris Smith, 23 Henry Immelman.

Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France)
Assistant referees: Vivien Praderie (FRA) & Jonathan Gasnier (France)
TMO: Thomas Charabas (France)

 

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