URC – Vodacom Bulls March To Final Past Leinster


The Vodacom Bulls hosted Leinster on Saturday at Loftus Versveld in the first semi-final of the 2023/2024 United Rugby Championship and secured their third final with a 25-20 win against the winner between Munster and Glasgow Warriors.

The first twenty minutes of the match was a ding-dong battle with two of the heavy-weights of the URC trying to get some sort of dominance over the other. Within two minutes of play the Vodacom Bulls had a brilliant try disallowed whereafter Leinster missed a conversion attempt to open the scoring.

Following a yellow card to Sergeal Petersen of the Bulls, Leinster launched wave after wave of attack from a five-meter lineout, Leinster's winger James Lowe scored in the corner to open the scoring for Leinster who led 07-00 after twenty-four minutes of play.

Seven minutes later, following great work by the Bulls forwards on the tryline of Leinster, Johan Goosen ran a brilliant line to cut Leinster's defence in two to score the equaliser.

With time up on the clock Johan Goosen converted a penalty to put the Bulls in the lead, 10-07 for the first time of the match. A thrilling but boring kickfest first half ended with none of the teams dominating.

Brilliant handling and a timely grubber by Harold Vorster led to Sergeal Petersen scoring in the corner after just two minutes of play to extend the Bulls' lead to 17-07 in the second half.

Eight minutes later eightman Caelan Doris scored Leinster's second try following a quick tap from a penalty five meters from the Bulls' tryline to reduce the Bulls' lead to three points.

Two converted penalties by Ross Byrne and a converted penalty by Johan Goosen levelled the scores at 20-20 with fifteen minutes to play in the second half.

A brilliant up and under with an even more brilliant effort by Sergeal Petersen claiming the ball in the air tod score the Bulls' third try to lead 25-20 with fourteen minutes to play.

The Bulls dominated the final quarter of the match and although they did not add anything to the scoreboard they advanced to the URC final next weekend against the winners between Munster and Glasgow Warriors.

Vodacom Bulls: Tries: Johan Goosen, Sergeal Petersen (2). Conversions: Johan Goosen (2). Penalties: Johan Goosen (2).
Leinster: Tries: James Lowe, Caelan Doris. Conversions: Ross Byrne (2). Penalties: Ross Byrne (2).

Vodacom Bulls: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 David Kriel, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Devon Williams, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Embrose Papier, 8 Cameron Hanekom, 7 Elrigh Louw, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Ruan Nortje (c), 4 Ruan Vermaak, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Johan Grobbelaar, 1 Gerhard Steenekamp. Replacements: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima, 18 Francois Klopper, 19 Reinhardt Ludwig, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Keagan Johannes, 22 Chris Smith, 23 Cornel Smit.

Leinster: 15 Jimmy O’Brien, 14 Jordan Larmour, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 James Lowe, 10 Ross Byrne, 9 Jamison Gibson-Park, 8 Caelan Doris, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Ryan Baird, 5 James Ryan (c), 4 Joe McCarthy, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Dan Sheehan, 1 Andrew Porter. Replacements: 16 Rónan Kelleher, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Michael Ala’alatoa, 19 Ross Molony, 20 Jack Conan, 21 Luke McGrath, 22 Ciarán Frawley, 23 Jamie Osborne.