The Vodacom Bulls tallied up six tries on their way to registering a dominant 40-03 victory over the Windhoek Draught Griquas in round 5 fixture in the 2023 Currie Cup campaign, played at Loftus Versfeld, early Friday evening.
In front of some 2000+ fans on the stands, turning up to support their team who went into the fixture looking to turn the corner after a series of losses; the Vodacom Bulls rewarded their most loyal on Easter Friday. The overall performance was impressive, but perhaps the most pleasing to the coaching unit will be the manner in which the forwards dominated their setpieces and how Embrose Papier linked up the power of the men upfront to the synchronised work of the backs.
Two converted tries – from Ruan Vermaak and Mornay Smith – in the opening 20 minutes of the game, gave the hosts a steady lead as they looked to make good use of their early momentum.
The visitors were dealt a blow, having to play with one man for a 10-minute stint with Stephan Smit shown yellow. Immediately, the Pretoria outfit made good use of their advantage, sending Cyle Brink over the line for an easy conversion by Chris Smith.
The Vodacom Bulls then put on display; a beautiful team try as Kurt-Lee Arendse turned on his magic to work his way through the Griquas field – from his own 10m line – to eventually offload to Embrose Papier who would get on his bicycle from the halfway mark all the way through, scoring his try right under poles to make Smith’s job easy in converting the chance.
At the break, the men in blue led 26-3.
The second stanza got off to a jittery start for the home side, called upon to defend their try-line multiple times. The herd proved to be the stronger side in the match when they used that pressure into a counter-attacking move which included Arendse once again. This time, the Springbok star stepped on his gas pedal as he showed his quick acceleration abilities to later offloaded to David Kriel who would go over the line for another converted try, 10 minutes into the resumption of play. Seven minutes later, loose-head prop, Gerhard Steenekamp went over the line – with a defender on his back – for the team’s last try of the match.
The last 20 minutes of the game yielded no further points in the contest, as the visiting Griquas continued to push for points but the men in blue remained resolute as the bench provided much-needed fresher legs to help defend their ground.
At full-time, the Vodacom Bulls secured a comprehensive 40-03 bonus point victory.
Tries: Ruan Vermaak x1, Mornay Smith x1, Cyle Brink x1, Embrose Papier x1, David Kriel x1, Gerhard Steenekamp x1
Conversions: Chris Smith x5
VODACOM BULLS vs WINDHOEK DRAUGHT GRIQUAS STARTING XV: 1. Gerhard Steenekamp, 2. Johan Grobbelaar, 3. Mornay Smith, 4. Ruan Vermaak, 5. Ruan Nortje (c), 6. Marco van Staden, 7. Cyle Brink, 8. Elrigh Louw, 9. Embrose Papier, 10. Chris Smith, 11. David Kriel, 12. Harold Vorster, 13. Stedman Gans, 14. Canan Moodie, 15. Kurt-Lee Arendse
VODACOM BULLS IMPACT SQUAD: 16. Bismarck du Plessis, 17. Dylan Smith, 18. Francois Klopper, 19. Janko Swanepoel, 20. Nizaam Carr, 21. Keagan Johannes, 22. Johan Goosen, 23. Cornal Hendricks
MANAGEMENT: Jake White – Director of Rugby, Sean Everitt – Defence & Breakdown, Hugo van As – Backline, Gert Smal – Forwards, Andre Volsteedt – Strength & Conditioning, John-William Meyer – Technical Analyst, Dr. Gerhard Louwrence – Team Doctor, Claudette Eckard – Physiotherapist, Kyle Meyer – Physiotherapist, Elias Bennett – Team Manager, Zama Dyidi – Logistics Manager