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By Athenkosi Tsotsi

Sports Reporter

14-men Bulls go down 27-22 to Munster at Loftus Versfeld

It was a successful return to Loftus Versfeld for lock RG Snyman as he scored a try to help Munster get the win.

The Bulls’ aspirations to finish on top of the United Rugby Championship were dealt a blow as they suffered a 27-22 defeat to the defending champions, Munster, at Lotftus Versfeld on Saturday night.  

 It was a must-win game for the Bulls considering how top-of-the-table Leinster (54 points) lost to the Lions in the afternoon while second-placed Glasgow Warriors (53 points) beat the Sharks on Friday night. Their failure to win sees them drop to fourth place with 46 points with Munster going above them to third with 48 points.

The Bulls and Munster had one thing in common going into the match; they went into it on the back of defeats to Northampton Saints in the Champions Cup.

As the home side, the Bulls were looking to use their home-ground advantage as there was a healthy crowd in the stands. Munster as the visitors had a few supporters in the stands wearing their red jerseys.

RG Snyman return to Loftus

Before the start of the game, the Loftus faithful cheered for Embrose Papier and Simphiwe Matanzima as they made their 50th appearances for the Bulls. They also welcomed a son of their own, Munster’s RG Snyman, who was playing against his former side for the first time.

Snyman announced his return to his old stomping ground with a lineout steal that displayed his class. The Bulls would return the favour with young lock Ruan Vermark intercepting Snyman as he was about to receive a lineout throw.

From the onset, it was evident that both teams had immense quality. In the opening stages, there was an element of precision in both teams’ game aspects; they did not want to make mistakes. The Bulls were solid with their rush defence and very much competitive in the breakdown, with Cameron Hanekom assuming the role of being the fetcher.

Both teams deployed a kicking game instead of running with the ball in hand. Munster looked for territory with the kicking but the Bulls were good in the air with Willie le Roux and Kurt-Lee Arendse showing their Test rugby experience with how they collected aerial balls.

Points on the board

After 20 minutes, Munster would get the game’s first converted try when Shane Daly dotted down from the wing after the team moved the ball swiftly to him. Five minutes later the Bulls would get a try of their own through Elrigh Louw who powered his way over the line with Johan Goosen kicking in the conversion. Goosen would also slot in a penalty after the half-hour mark to give the Bulls a 10-7 lead.

The next ten minutes leading to the break were dominated by Munster who showed great coordination in attack. They pounced on a handling error by Wilco Louw close to the try line. They recycled the ball and the move ended with Snyman getting their second converted try. Irish flyhalf Jack Crowley scored a penalty to give his side a 17 – 10 lead at the break.

Bulls director of rugby, Jake White, must have given his players strong words in the dressing room as they started the second 40 minutes with intent. They camped in Munster’s half, threatening their try line. The Bulls came back with five points after Arendse dotted down. They had seven points the next time they ventured into the opposition’s half with Johan Grobbelaar getting a converted try.

The Bulls were showing why they have the best attack in the URC, they were finding a way to score tries pragmatically, using their power.

Goosen red card

There would be a red card given to Bull flyhalf Goosen for a high tackle on Craig Casey in the 53rd minute. The red card’s impact would be immediately felt after John Hodnett caught a Crowely crosskick, and beat Canan Moodie on his way to the try-line.

The Bulls managed to calm down and settled after the shock of the red card and negated Munster. However, Munster kept on putting them under pressure as they wanted to make their numerical advantage. The home with 14 men on the field did well to keep the score at 22-22 in the 70th minute.

It was all to play for in the last ten minutes with the game on the line. Munster had the ball and played in the Bulls’ half. They got their fourth try through Conor Murray, as they led 27-22 with five minutes left. The Bulls chased the game as a converted score would be enough for the win.

Loftus was anxious as the Bulls kept on pushing for the try, but they failed as they lost the ball in the ruck, eventually losing 27-22.


Bulls: Tries – Elrigh Louw, Kurt-Lee Arendse, Johan Grobbelaar; Conversions – Johan Goosen(2); Penalty – Goosen

Munster: Tries – Shane Daly, RG Snyman, John Hodnett, Conor Murray; Conversions – Jack Crowley (2); Penalty – Crowley