Springboks flyers star as Bulls survive late Glasgow comeback in crunch URC top four clash

Planet Rugby
Canan Moodie of Vodacom Bulls during the United Rugby Championship

Canan Moodie of Vodacom Bulls during the United Rugby Championship.

The Bulls and Glasgow Warriors put on a show at Loftus Versveld on Saturday with the hosts emerging 40-34 victors in the United Rugby Championship clash.

The result could potentially see Glasgow losing their top spot in the URC standings to either Leinster or Munster, as they left Loftus with just two log points.

As for the Bulls, they claimed the maximum five thanks to scores from Akker van der Merwe, Cameron Hanekom, Elrigh Louw and Canan Moodie, with Chris Smith’s flawless kicking display adding 20 points to their tally. Kurt-Lee Arendse and Moodie shone once again for Jake White’s charges along with Willie le Roux.

Franco Smith’s side threatened a late comeback with Matt Fagerson, Kyle Steyn, Sebastian Cancelliere and Duncan Weir crossing for tries, but ultimately the fell short.

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Trailing 37-10 entering the final quarter, the league leaders responded by running in three tries in eight minutes to raise hopes of extending their winning run in the URC to seven matches.

But fly-half Smith landed a penalty to put the Bulls out of reach and inflict on their opponents a first loss in the competition since December.

Glasgow’s dazzling play after the hour mark and three points from Weir with the last kick of the game at least secured two bonus points in a dramatic encounter between title rivals.

For the love of scrums, World Rugby stop changing the laws!

Fagerson gave them an early lead but moments after Kyle Steyn had been sent to the sin bin for a tip tackle on Van der Merwe, the former Springboks hooker touched down from a well-worked play.

Glasgow were struggling to break out of their half in the face of waves of attacks and there was nothing flashy about the next try they leaked with sheer pressure, leading to number eight Hanekom crossing.

Once George Horne and Smith had exchanged penalties, the Bulls ran in an electric try that started when Glasgow coughed up possession with their own attack.

The ball was threaded to Arendse and the South Africa wing weaved his way downfield but just as Steyn made the tackle, Louw arrived to take the scoring pass.

The bonus point was secured six minutes after the interval when sharp handling exposed Glasgow’s passive defending with Moodie crossing.

With winning seemingly now an impossible prospect, the Warriors focused on registering their own bonus point and their cause was aided when a superb long pass by Horne fell into the arms of Steyn for a simple run in.

But in a flash the comeback was on when Cancelliere picked off an intercept try and then Weir finishing a stunning move that bamboozled the Bulls through brilliant running lines and pinpoint handling.

Smith slammed the door shut, however, before Weir was on target with a penalty to register a second losing bonus point.

The teams

Bulls: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Canan Moodie, 13 David Kriel, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 10 Chris Smith, 9 Embrose Papier, 8 Cameron Hanekom, 7 Elrigh Louw (c), 6 Marcon van Staden, 5 Ruan Nortje (c), 4 Ruan Vermaak, 3 Wilco Louw,  2 Akker van der Merwe, 1 Gerhard Steenekamp
Replacements: 16 Johan Grobbelaar, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima, 18 Francois Klopper, 19 Reinhardt Ludwig, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Zak Burger, 22 Jaco van der Valt, 23 Devon Williams

Glasgow Warriors: 15 Josh McKay, 14 Kyle Steyn (c), 13 Stafford McDowall, 12 Sione Tuipulotu, 11 Sebastian Cancelliere, 10 Tom Jordan, 9 George Horne, 8 Jack Dempsey, 7 Rory Darge, 6 Matt Fagerson, 5 Scott Cummings, 4 Gregor Brown, 3 Murphy Walker, 2 Grant Stewart, 1 Jamie Bhatti
Replacements: 16 Johnny Matthews, 17 Nathan McBeth, 18 Zander Fagerson, 19 Max Williamson, 20 Euan Ferrie, 21 Henco Venter, 22 Jamie Dobie, 23 Duncan Weir

Referee: Ben Whitehouse (WRU)
Assistant Referees: AJ Jacobs (SARU), Dylen November (SARU)
TMO: Craig Evans (WRU)

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