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Player ratings - Bulls

OPINION: The Bulls tackled Leinster into submission to reach the United Rugby Championship for a second time.


It is also the second time they beat Leinster in a semifinal – ensuring the powerful and Irish international-laden team lost in the last four for the third successive year.

It was a victory built on brute strength and relentless defence.

Jan de Koning rates the Bulls players!

15 Willie le Roux
He was heavily involved from the outset and produced a masterclass in playmaking, with some sublime tactical kicking. There was a great carry and wrap-around with a great 50-22 kick and just the odd stray pass.

14 Sergeal Petersen
He was yellow-carded for a ‘deliberate’ knock-on just on the 20-minute mark, which resulted in Leinster’s first try. He made up for it with some great kick-chasing and a crucial try, while chasing and collecting a Papier kick.

13 David Kriel
He is one of the most underrated midfielders in the country, who doesn’t always get credit for his massive role in the Bulls set-up. He collected all the restarts that came his way. There were also 13 tackles.


12 Harold Vorster
Produced several powerful carries, continuously attacking the advantage line. Solid on defence, with eight tackles.

11 Devon Williams
He was steady, without being spectacular and did what was required.

10 Johan Goosen
From a steady start – with a great angled run for the Bulls’ opening try – he made 70-odd metres with the ball in hand and settled into a great game. Also a sound tactical game, with only the odd error.

9 Embrose Papier
Crisp service and doing the basics well, occasionally testing the Leinster defence. He did give away a needless penalty and his stats may not look as impressive as some other players, but he played his role in the win superbly.


8 Cameron Hanekom
Great early steal, building on that start to be one of the team’s most valuable players – making almost 90 metres from his 15 carries. Throw in 15 tackles (second most in the game) and no misses.

7 Elrigh Louw
Leaving stud marks all over the park with his enormous workrate – a match-high 17 tackles, with 60-odd metres from nine carries.

6 Marco van Staden
Gave away a silly penalty that had his team’s first try scratched, but worked hard to make up for his brain fade.

5 Ruan Nortje (captain)
Great reads on defence – collecting a chip-kick that had trouble written all over it. He is also maturing as a captain.

4 Ruan Vermaak
Settling into his role as Nortje’s second row partner and while he was not as spectacular as his captain, he had a good day at the office.

3 Wilco Louw
His powerful scrumming laid the foundation for the Bulls’ set-piece dominance and was certainly not always rewarded by the referee.

2 Johan Grobbelaar
Showed why he is in the Springbok picture, with a solid first-half performance. Maybe he still needs to mature, but certainly one for the future.

1 Gerhard Steenekamp
One of the most underrated scrummagers in the country and made most of his tackles.


16 Akker van der Merwe (on for Grobbelaar, 40 min)
Not flawless, with two missed tackles, but did not let the team down – making some strong carries.

17 Simphiwe Matanzima (on for Steenekamp, 59 min)
His defensive work certainly requires some work, but he is becoming a valued asset.

18 Francois Klopper (on for Louw, 60 min)
Maybe his workrate can improve, but nine tackles in a 20-minute cameo says a lot about his future in Pretoria.

19 Reinhardt Ludwig (on for Vermaak, 64 min)
The perfect player to come off the bench – making all his tackles in those decisive last 15 minutes.

20 Nizaam Carr (on for Van Staden, 60 min)
He showed some sublime touches, including a crucial kick ahead, at a time when Leinster looked to be getting the upperhand. Also made all his tackles.

21 Keagan Johannes
Not used.

22 Chris Smith
Not used.

23 Cornel Smit (on for Le Roux, 55 min)
Not bad for a rookie on debut, stepping in admirably for the veteran, two-times World Cup winner.


In this episode of Walk the Talk, Jim Hamilton chats with double World Cup winner Damian de Allende about all things Springbok rugby, including RWC2023 and the upcoming Ireland series. Watch now for free on RugbyPass TV

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