URC – Vodacom Bulls Targets A Bonus-point Win Against 15th-placed Dragons RFC


The second-placed Vodacom Bulls are the only team in the top half of the URC standings and will battle it out with the Dragons in Newport at 21:35 on Saturday.

The second-placed Vodacom Bulls will target a bonus-point win when they play the 15th-placed Dragons at Rodney Parade where they will be hunting their fourth win in a row.

In stark contrast to the Pretoria side, the Dragons have struggled to build momentum this season, winning only two of their 11 matches, with their defence in particular letting them down.

This is exactly what will tickle the Vodacom Bulls, who currently lead the attacking statistics in the competition, with 389 points in their 11 matches to only 175 by the Dragons.

A full house of points for the Pretoria outfit will also ensure that they stay within striking range of log-leaders, Leinster, who hold a narrow four-point lead over them, as they look to keep alive their hopes of possibly sneaking to the top of the table should Leinster slip up.

Wales ace Cai Evans returns to the starting line-up for the Dragons RFC while international team-mates Elliot Dee and Aaron Wainwright are primed from the bench.

Evans is straight into match action as Head Coach Dai Flanagan makes five changes to his starting line-up for the encounter at Rodney Parade.

Prop Rhodri Jones is set to make his 150th appearance in the league after making his return up front. Combative hooker Brodie Coghlan also gets a first start of the season.

Lock George Nott is back in the final change to the home pack. Ben Carter is set for a welcome return from the bench.

Scrum-half Rhodri Williams is back to partner Will Reed while Wales international Evans is recalled at full-back.

Dee and Wainwright are named among the replacements for the home fixture.

Boss Dai Flanagan said: “We face a Bulls side who are an unbelievable team and are one of the favourites for the league, so we know the challenge we are facing.

“They've got a style of play that all 15 players buy into. They've got size, speed, skill set - they're a formidable test.

“We’ve got to match them in all aspects of the game and capitalise on opportunities, which we haven't always done this season.

“We’re looking forward to getting back to Rodney Parade. We’ve been decent at home, have won three of the last four, and we want to put on a show and get people excited in Gwent again.”

Vodacom Bulls Director of Rugby Jake White has made several changes to his team to face the Dragons in Newport on Saturday.

Six changes were made at the back with Canan Moodie starting at the outside centre. Harold Vorster is Moodie's partner in the midfield.

Fullback Willie le Roux returns to the starting lineup while Sebastian de Klerk starts on the right wing and Kurt-Lee Arendse is the only back to retain his number from the clash at Loftus Versfeld.

Scrumhalf Zak Burger and flyhalf Chris Smith forms the new halfback combination.

There are just two changes to the pack, as Mpilo Gumede comes in for Reinhardt Ludwig and Jan-Hendrik Wessels replaces Johan Grobbelaar.


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.