Bulls overwhelm understrength Leinster
A nine-try romp for the Bulls over table-topping Leinster, provided a perfect afternoon’s entertainment at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday and a significant boost to their confidence ahead of their United Rugby Championship (URC) quarterfinal in two weeks.
Who they will face would be determined by the outcome of later matches, but for Jake White’s charges, this was a statement performance albeit against a Leinster side that was missing all its Irish national stars.
Still as one sage viewer at Loftus put it, “you can only play what is in front of you,” and the Bulls did that bloody well, winning 62-7.
They dominated their understrength opponents from the first whistle through their forward pack.
It started at the scrums, where the Bulls generated penalties, carried on through with their mauling, while in the loose, eighthman, Elrigh Louw and skipper Ruan Nortje featured prominently.
That supremacy produced a surfeit of possession for scrumhalf Embrose Papier, whose distribution was efficient, with inside centre Harold Vorster also creating space for the exciting outside backs. Kurt-Lee Arendse was a menace for the Irish defence, as was wing Canan Moodie.
It was the latter’s line-break set up by a lovely delayed pass from Vorster that put the Bulls on the front foot with Nortje smashing through the Leinster defence for the opening try in the seventh minute.
There was some beautiful interplay down the short side by Arendse and left wing David Kriel, allowing the former to skirt over, shortly afterwards.
Leinster offered very little on attack in the opening stanza and in the one brief period when they did, it was the Bulls who scored.
Louw intercepted a pass five metres short of his own try line, charged up field and having not trusted his own pace, kicked ahead.
Fortunately the Bulls were able to secure possession and a perfectly weighted kick from Canan Moodie put Arendse in for a second comfortable score.
The Bulls got the bonus point try on the stroke of halftime, when Grobbelaar burst over for the first of his two tries, giving the hosts a 31-0 lead — a scoreline that perfectly reflected their superiority.
Grobbelaar’s second score was more aesthetically pleasing, with the Bulls moving the ball right to left and then right again, with fancy interpassing between backs and forwards, while Papier’s break across the field was followed by a delicate offload that allowed the 25-year-old hooker to walk over the try line.
Four more tries followed as the Bulls started to enjoy themselves, while Leinster continued to crumble.
The did manage a lone riposte, when replacement proper Michael Milne, crashed over in the 53rd minute.
But they have bigger fish to fry next week, when their big name players will return for the Champions Cup semifinal against Toulouse in Dublin.
The Bulls have the rather less stressful Currie Cup to contend with, but their focus will slowly start turning to May 6 and their quarterfinal match in the URC.
Bulls — Tries: Nortje, Arendse (2), Grobbelaar (2), Moodie (2), Gans, Vorster; Conversions: Goosen (7); Penalty: Goosen
Leinster: — Try: Milne; Conversion: Prendergast
Support independent journalism by subscribing to the Sunday Times. Just R20 for the first month.