Despite a spirited first half performance, the Vodacom Bulls struggled in testing weather conditions to succumb 34-7 to Irish side, Connacht, on Friday night.
Strong winds and heavy rains at The Sportsground in Galway, coupled with what the South African side admitted being self-imposed errors, made it a difficult outing in Round 2 of the Vodacom United Rugby Championship.
“We had enough chances in the first half, and then in the second half we were up against it. There is no doubt that they understand how to play on this field,” said Vodacom Bulls director of rugby, Jake White, after the game.
“The wind was pumping down, the rain came, and I said during the week that it would be one of those difficult games because if you lose the toss – it’s a bit like cricket – you will struggle to get up the hill… I don’t think people will appreciate just how tough it was to carry the ball out of your half. In saying that, they obviously understood how to play on this field.”
The Vodacom Bulls started the match strongly as loosehead prop, Lizo Gqoboka, opened the scoring with a try as early as the first minute, which Johan Goosen converted to give the visitors an early lead.
Connacht responded with a converted try and a penalty in the first half to go to the half-time break with a narrow 10-7 lead.
“There were times where we played really nicely in those conditions, but I will never be a coach that says we are happy that we ended up losing 34-7 when were 7-0 up,” said White.
It was an uphill battle in the second half as the home side enjoyed the familiar wet and windy terrain as they went on to add a further four tries, with the Vodacom Bulls unable to reply.
“The reality is that we were not good in those conditions, they did not suit us. The way we want to play does not help in conditions like this. We were not accurate either – we lost a lot of ball at the back of the rucks. I thought our scrums and lineouts were much better than last week. In fact, we probably didn’t get as rewarded in those areas we could have,” concluded White.
The Vodacom Bulls will now travel to Wales where they will take on Cardiff Rugby on Saturday.
TRIES: Tiernan O’Halloran, Tom Daly (2), Mack Hansen, Tom Farrell
CONVERSIONS: Jack Carty (3)
TRY: Lizo Gqoboka
CONVERSION: Johan Goosen