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By Athenkosi Tsotsi

Sports Reporter

White proud of Bulls’ fighting spirit in URC defeat to Edinburgh

The Bulls put on a brave fight despite playing the majority of the clash against Edinburgh with 14 players.

A red card for captain Marcell Coetzee in the second half saw the Bulls collapse on their way to a 31-23 defeat to Edinburgh in the United Rugby Championship at the Hive Stadium on Friday.

The Bulls went into the halftime break leading 13-11 after a steady showing in the opening stanza courtesy of a Devon Williams try and eight points from the boot of Johan Goosen.

One minute after the start of the second 40 minutes Coetzee received his marching orders after connecting with Edinburgh prop Pierre Schoeman’s head. Immediately after, the Bulls were reduced to 13 men when Cameron Hanekom received a yellow card.

With the numerical advantage on their side, Edinburgh scored two tries within five minutes through Ewan Ashman and Duhan van der Merwe to give their team a 21-13 lead by the 49th minute. After the hour mark, loose forward Bill Mata extended the home side’s lead to 28-13 with a converted try.

‘Made it hard for ourselves’

The 14-man Bulls fought back with a Wilco Louw converted try and a Jaco van der Walt penalty to close the gap to 28-23 for the home side with eight minutes left to play. The game though was put to bed by a Ben Healy penalty that gave Sean Everitt’s team a 31-28 win.

Bulls director of rugby, Jake White, commended his charges for the fight they showed after playing with 13 men for 10 minutes and with 14 for 30 minutes in the game.

“We made it hard for ourselves playing with 14 men,” said White in his post-match press conference.

“I’m very proud, we carried on staying in the fight. At 28-13, it looked like the game was over, we had 14 men on the field. I have to compliment the players on their fighting spirit.

“There were times we were really good, we stayed in the game. I have got to be proud of the way (we played).

“I can’t be disappointed with the spirit of the group, four weeks on tour, we all know how tough it is to tour for four weeks. We just got to regroup and go home, we have another tough game next week,” said the Bulls mentor.

White remained tight-lipped when asked about Coetzee’s red card but said they would look for a review.

“The best thing for us is to go through the correct channels, find out what the interpretations are, and why they are seen like that. There’s a lot of communication about head-on-head, we have to make sure we get it right. As you saw tonight, we can’t afford to with 13 or 14 men in a big game like this,” said White.

The Bulls return to URC action at home next weekend against Connacht.

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