The Vodacom Bulls got down and dirty to earn a bonus point victory over the Dragons at the Rodney Parade stadium, in the city of Newport, South of Wales. The Pretoria outfit ran in four tries over their hosts’ two, to record a bruising win on the road.
At the beginning of the encounter, the Vodacom Bulls got off to a flyer, with Johan Goosen spotting a gap off the kick, and launching an attack and the Pretoria outfit got away for their opening instalment for the night as Kurt-Lee Arendse finished off the brilliant team effort. Goosen returned to convert the opportunity and inside the opening 5 minutes, the visitors were 7-0 up. Minutes later, the herd were awarded a penalty within range and Goosen slotted the opportunity to stretch the lead to 10 after 11 minutes on the clock.
The Dragons were dealt a double blow as Lewis Jones was shown yellow for slapping the ball over the dead ball line after a kick, actions that condemned him to 10 minutes in the bin and his side a penalty try that stretched the Vodacom Bulls lead to 17 after 16 minutes of play.
The hosts then had a 10-minute-long green spell, forcing the Vodacom Bulls into errors which they capitalised on. Bradley Roberts went over the line for a converted try (by Sam Davies) and shortly before the break, Max Clark went over the line for their second converted try.
At the break, only three points separated the two sides.
At the resumption of play, the crowd were treated to an enthralling game of rugby as both sides traded blows gunning for the try line. It was the Vodacom Bulls who broke the defence lines first – 20 minutes into the second stanza – with Harold Vorster running a brilliant line for the try after the Pretoria outfit camped in the Dragons 5m line for four consecutive scrums. Goosen converted the try.
Four minutes later, substitute, Bismarck du Plessis fed the lineout and the Vodacom Bulls formed a maul which could not be stopped, eventually leading to Du Plessis scoring his sides’ fourth and bonus point try, 40 seconds into his run. Goosen’s kick just went wide but the visitors enjoyed a 15-point lead with 16 minutes left on the clock.
That would be enough to earn the herd their first victory of the new year, with a bonus point.
VODACOM BULLS SCORERS:
Tries: Kurt-Lee Arendse x1, Harold Vorster x1, Bismarck du Plessis x1, Penalty Try x1
Conversion: Johan Goosen x2
Penalty: Johan Goosen x1
VODACOM BULLS STARTING XV:
1. Gerard Steenekamp, 2. Johann Grobbelaar, 3. Mornay Smith, 4. Ruan Vermaak, 5. Ruan Nortje (c), 6. Marco van Staden, 7. Cyle Brink, 8. Elrigh Louw, 9. Zak Burger, 10. Johan Goosen, 11. David Kriel, 12. Harold Vorster, 13. Wandisile Simelane, 14. Canan Moodie, 15. Kurt-Lee Arendse
VODACOM BULLS IMPACT SQUAD:
16. Simphiwe Matanzima, 17. Bismarck Du Plessis, 18. Sebastian Lombard, 19. Janko Swanepoel, 20. Nizaam Carr, 21. Embrose Papier, 22. Bernard van der Linde, 23. Cornal Hendricks
MANAGEMENT: Jake White – Director of Rugby, Nollis Marais – Breakdown, Russell Winter – Forwards, Chris Rossouw – Backs, Elias Bennett – Team Manager, John-William Meyer – Technical Analyst, Dr Herman Rossouw – Team Doctor, Lance Lemmetjies – Senior Physiotherapist