Ken Borland

By Ken Borland


URC result: Bulls too good for Benetton — four takeaways

The Bulls struggled to get going in the first half, but were much-improved in the second 40 minutes.

The facts at the end of the day show that the Bulls scored six tries to two and beat Benetton Treviso 46-29 with a bonus point in their United Rugby Championship match at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday, but they were a sick and sluggish beast in the first half.

Off colour in first half

The Bulls did not make a good start to the match as they gave away a soft penalty and then a soft try inside the first dozen minutes to trail 10-0. The impression was that this was a sickly Bulls side, their usual confident attitude not being there, as they missed 11 of the 36 tackles they had to make in the first half and were also lethargic at the breakdowns, being turned over five times.

That they only trailed 12-16 at halftime was thanks to fullback Kurt-Lee Arendse scoring in the 41st minute thanks to a lovely long pass out wide by flyhalf Chris Smith.


When the Bulls get gainline dominance they are hard to stop and that’s a fact! Once the Bulls shrugged off their lethargy and started pressurising the gain-line, the Benetton Treviso challenge fell away.

Gaining dominance in the collisions had the rub-off effect of sorting out their breakdown problems and the Bulls’ power game also saw them dominate in the scrums, earning penalties for territory, and their maul started to get good traction in the second half as well.

Christmas comes early for Kurt-Lee Arendse

The Bulls also made a sloppy start to the second half, but the advent of the 50th minute saw fullback Arendse gifted a try as centre Iganacio Brex’s terrible pass went to ground behind his own line and the Bulls’ whippet pounced, racing away from his own 10m line to score.

In the final quarter Arendse then set up the try that sealed the contest with a brilliant counter-attack. Going back into his 22 to field a kick, he beat the first defender and was away; lock Ruan Nortje galloped up in support and he made the final pass to wing Canan Moodie to score.

Mixed afternoon for Chris Smith

Bulls flyhalf Chris Smith struggled with his goalkicking, missing three of his eight shots at goal, including his first two as the home side struggled to get going. But his distribution was fantastic. His change of direction to go blind for flank Cyle Brink to score was a moment of fine vision, helped by hooker Johan Grobbelaar’s burst and Nortje’s deft offload.

Smith and Arendse also combined brilliantly for the crucial score after the halftime hooter.


Bulls – Tries: Cyle Brink, Kurt-Lee Arendse (2), Marcell Coetzee, Canan Moodie, Simphiwe Matanzima. Conversions: Chris Smith (3), Morne Steyn (2). Penalties: Smith (2).

Benneton Treviso – Tries: Tommaso Menoncello (2). Conversions: Rhyno Smith (2). Penalties: Smith (5).

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