Sport / Rugby

Ken Borland
Sports Journalist
3 minute read
10 Oct 2021
8:13 am

Bulls victory closes out ‘massive’ weekend for SA rugby

Ken Borland

In the second half the Bulls came out with some much-needed fire in the belly.

Bulls wing Madosh Tambwe scores a try against the Cardiff Blues. Picture: Getty Images

Jake White described his team’s 29-19 victory over the Cardiff Blues in their United Rugby Championship match at Arms Park on Saturday night as being a huge result for not just the Bulls but for the whole of South African rugby.

The Bulls result, achieved via a superb second-half comeback that saw them overturn a 16-3 deficit, completed a highly encouraging weekend for the previously beleaguered South African franchises.

It was the Sharks who set the ball rolling with a brilliant second-half comeback of their own against the Ospreys on Friday night, winning 27-13 after they were level 6-6 at the break. And then earlier on Saturday the Lions went down 13-9 to the Glasgow Warriors, who were awarded a try that never should have stood, while the Stormers fought back from 14-0 down after just six minutes to draw 20-20 with Edinburgh.

ALSO READ: Stormers and Edinburgh draw after scoreless second half

“It’s massive for us, for South African rugby, for everyone. It brings credibility to the competition,” White said.

“We read in the media that viewership is through the roof and we certainly don’t want to lose and lose.

“It was a fantastic game for us, a great comeback after being 13-0 down and losing Johan Goosen to a knee injury. We were so resilient and I’m sure the URC are incredibly happy too because it shows there is healthy competition.

“We’re going to get massive confidence from this result and also from the way we played. I was really happy with the way we changed our attack, using forwards and backs, and we played with a lot of width at times too.”

The Bulls were poor in the first half, unable to keep the ball for more than a couple of phases at a time, and this was largely due to another inept showing at the breakdowns.

But this all changed in the second half as they came out with some much-needed fire in the belly, started dominating the gain-line and hanging on to the ball longer, and this led to the pressure – and the wrath of the referee – shifting on to Cardiff at the breakdowns.

ALSO READ: Glasgow Warriors edge Lions – after refereeing howler

Veteran hooker Bismarck du Plessis was prominent in a tough first half for the Bulls, and he set the ball rolling early in the second half with a big carry, winning a penalty.

Eighthman Elrigh Louw just tapped and went and was straight over for the try with no problem.

This certainly lifted the Bulls and a fantastic break by replacement flank Arno Botha followed, with Marcell Coetzee, who really came to the fore in the second half, then carrying strongly to earn a penalty. This was slotted by Chris Smith, who replaced Goosen at flyhalf with enormous aplomb.

Suddenly the Bulls were just three points behind and then wing Madosh Tambwe scored a tremendous try on the hour mark.

Good defensive pressure by centre Harold Vorster led to a poor pass by Cardiff. Tambwe was quickly up to kick the ball through and then showed searing pace to get there first, using great control to gather the bouncing ball and score.

This gave the Bulls the lead for the first time and the excellent boot of Smith, who succeeded with all seven of his kicks at goal, ensured this advantage was never surrendered.

Scorers

Cardiff Blues – Try: Matthew Screech. Conversion: Rhys Priestland. Penalties: Priestland (4).

Bulls – Tries: Elrigh Louw, Madosh Tambwe. Conversions: Chris Smith (2). Penalties: Smith (5).