URC – Vodacom Bulls Cruise Past Dragons RFC


The Vodacom Bulls saw off rock-bottom Dragons 31-10 at Rodney Parade to move into second place in the United Rugby Championship.

The hosts competed strongly throughout but the Vodacom Bulls always had the additional power and that touch of class to ensure a bonus-point victory that leaves them four points behind leaders Leinster.

Kurt-Lee Arendse, Mpilo Gumede, Embrose Papier and Johan Grobbelaar scored the South African side’s tries with Chris Smith converting all four and adding a penalty.

The Dragons RFC responded with a Corey Baldwin try that was converted by Will Reed and a Cai Evans penalty, but it was not enough to prevent a 10th defeat in 12 league outings this season.

Dragons RFC began promisingly with well-judged kicks from Evans and Steff Hughes keeping Bulls penned in their own 22 in the opening 10 minutes.

However, the hosts did not look likely to capitalise on their attacking platform and it was the South Africans who grabbed the first points when Smith slotted over a 16th-minute penalty.

Dragons RDC were under pressure in the scrums but were still able to maintain possession and were rewarded with a penalty from Evans to leave the scores level at the end of a competitive first quarter.

The home side’s defence was tested when powerful flanker Marco van Staden burst through tackles from Rhodri Williams and Evans to take him deep into opposition territory but a penalty allowed Dragons to relieve the pressure.

The Welsh region then suffered a few hammerblows in quick succession. First, they lost hooker Brodie Coghlan to injury before Reed was sin-binned for kicking the ball away in an off-side position, with Vodacom Bulls able to benefit when a long pass from Willie Le Roux sent Arendse over.

Reed was able to return with no further damage to the scoreboard but his side still trailed 10-3 at the interval.

After the restart, the Vodacom Bulls brought the game to life with a stunning score.

A neat off-load from Canan Moodie created space for Arendse down the right flank. The ball was recycled for Le Roux to place a cross-field kick into the hands of Devon Williams who provided Gumede with the scoring pass.

Dogged Dragons kept their line intact for a long period but late tries from Papier and Grobbelaar gave Bulls their bonus point with Baldwin picking up a consolation score for the hosts.

Dragons RFC: Try: Corey Baldwin. Conversion: Will Reed. Penalty: Cai Evans.
Vodacom Bulls: Tries: Kurt-Lee Arendse, Mpilo Gumede, Embrose Papier, Ruan Nortje. Conversions: Chris Smith(4). Penalty: Chris Smith.


Dragons RFC: 15 Cai Evans, 14 Ewan Rosser, 13 Joe Westwood, 12 Steff Hughes (c), 11 Corey Baldwin, 10 Will Reed, 9 Rhodri Williams, 8 Taine Basham, 7 Sean Lonsdale, 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 George Nott, 4 Matthew Screech, 3 Chris Coleman, 2 Brodie Coghlan, 1 Rhodri Jones. Replacements: 16 Elliot Dee, 17 Rodrigo Martinez, 18 Luke Yendle, 19 Ben Carter, 20 Harri Keddie, 21 Aaron Wainwright, 22 Dane Blacker, 23 Jared Rosser.

Vodacom Bulls: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Sebastian de Klerk, 13 Canan Moodie, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 10 Chris Smith, 9 Izak Burger, 8 Marcell Coetzee, 7 Mpilo Gumede, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Ruan Nortje (c), 4 Ruan Vermaak, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Jan-Hendrik Wessels, 1 Gerhard Steenekamp. Replacements: 16 Johan Grobbelaar, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima, 18 Mornay Smith, 19 Reinhardt Ludwig, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Johan Goosen, 23 Devon Williams.