The Vodacom Bulls concluded their first European tour of the 2022 United Rugby Championship season, with an emphatic victory over Italian side, Benetton. The Pretoria outfit amassed five converted tries (all scored in the second half), with three penalties to add to the evening’s tally.
In the end, the 2021 finalists, convincingly notched up their first win in this current tour of the Northern Hemisphere, routing the Stadio Comunale di Monigo-based outfit, 44-22. The Italian side’s first defeat at home, since April.
The opening half was a closely contested affair, as three penalties played one, with the two sides going into the halftime break with scores at 9-3 in favour of the hosts.
An inspired Vodacom Bulls side returned from the shed, looking to make a serious statement of intent for the rest of the season ahead. Ruan Nortje, Elrigh Louw, Jan-Hendrik Wessels, Marcell Coetzee and Stravino Jacobs all went over the try-line, with Chris Smith and Morne Steyn accounting for the conversions and penalties, to help the side claim a bonus point victory.
The win was a big statement for the Vodacom Bulls, returning to the Italian North Eastern region of Veneto, for the first time since losing to the hosts in the Final of the one-off Rainbow Cup in June 2021.
BBCo. Director of Rugby, Jake White said that the victory was a massive relief for the team, because of the hard yards put into training by the players.
“I am proud of the way we trained, the way the side has stuck together. The second half was fantastic, even though we had many chances in the first half, but we probably gave them a couple of points in that half. We had our chances, playing all the rugby in our own half because they squeezed us. We also played some good rugby in our own half without getting the rewards whenever we went up the field,”
“In the second half, we got rewards by making line breaks and putting their defence under pressure. I thought (again) that our defence tonight was outstanding because we put them under pressure and we got some turnovers at the breakdown and in the tackles,”
“It is wonderful that we can finish off with 40 points in the second half and a bonus point win because this is a tough place to play. You don’t come here to score that many points, so I am happy and proud of the results,”
“They (Vodacom Bulls) are still performing as well as they can, we just got to keep working and now to get ourselves ready for a massive clash against the Cell C Sharks next weekend,” concludes White.
The Vodacom Bulls return home and will next run onto Loftus Versfeld to face the Cell C Sharks on Sunday 30 October 2022, an afternoon clash set to kick-off at 15:30pm CAT.
VODACOM BULLS SCORERS:
Tries: Ruan Nortje, Elrigh Louw, Jan-Hendrik Wessels, Marcell Coetzee, Stravino Jacobs. – Conversions: Chris Smith x2, Morne Steyn x3 – Penalties: Smith x3
BENETTON TREVISO SCORERS:
Try: Manuel Zuliani – Conversions: Tomas Albornoz – Penalties: Albornoz x5
VODACOM BULLS STARTING XV:
1. Gerhard Steenekamp, 2. Bismarck Du Plessis, 3. Francois Kloppe, 4. Janko Swanepoel, 5. Ruan Nortje, 6. Marcell Coetzee (c), 7. Marco Van Staden, 8. Elrigh Louw, 9. Embrose Papier, 10. Chris Smith, 11. Wandisile Simelane, 12. Harold Vorster, 13. Stedman Gans, 14. David Kriel, 15. Kurt-Lee Arendse
VODACOM BULLS IMPACT SQUAD:
16. Jan-Hendrik Wessels, 17. Simphiwe Matanzima, 18. Mornay Smith, 19. Walt Steenkamp, 20. Wj Steenkamp, 21. Zak Bruger, 22. Morne Steyn, 23. Stravino Jacobs