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Vodacom Bulls add to Leinster woes with URC semi-final win

BY Philip Bendon  ·  Saturday Jun 15, 2024

The Vodacom Bulls overcame heavy odds to defeat an Irish international-laden Leinster side in a BKT URC semi-final.

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Played in front of a raucous crowd at the intimidating Loftus Versfeld, the Bulls took the fight to Leinster as they exploited their rush defence with a superb tactical kicking game.

Dominating the opening exchanges, the Bulls appeared to hit the front through Devon Williams following a superb pass from Willie Le Roux. The score would be called back, however, following an off-the-ball tackle by backrow Marco van Staden on Ross Byrne.

Five minutes later, Leinster would be camped on the Bulls line as they launched wave after wave attack before James Lowe dotted down in the left-hand corner.

This lead would be short-lived for the Irish side as the Bulls truck right back. This time, it would be Johan Goosen who exploited a soft shoulder to dart in for the Bull’s opening score.

Goosen would be on hand once again on the stroke of half-time as he slotted a penalty to give the home side a well-deserved lead at the break.

Hitting the ground running in the second half, the Bulls would extend their lead through winger Sergeal Petersen, who scored inside the first minute. Twenty-five minutes later, Petersen would be at it again, this time with a moment of individual brilliance as he plucked the ball from the air to race away for a much-needed score.

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In between Petersen’s two tries, Caelen Doris would get his side back into the contest with a powerful try as he barged over the sublime Elrigh Louw to dot down.

Sealing the deal for the home side, Goosen would kick the scoreboard ticking over as he landed two conversions and two penalties to go with his try.

In a match that saw several notable performances, 22-year-old Cameron Hanekom would be the standout player as he dominated all areas of the match. Topping the successful carries, clean breaks, defenders beaten, meters made, offloads made, tackles made, and turnovers won charts, the number eight did his Springbok selection chances a world of good.

For Leinster, the loss concludes a third consecutive season without silverware and saw their much-lauded rush defence brutally exposed by a clever kicking game from the Bulls.

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This performance will also be of major concern to Ireland head coach Andy Farrell who will return to Pretoria with several of these Leinster players to face the Springboks in a two test series in three weeks time.

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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