Nine-try Bulls smash Ospreys as World Cup back three shine

rugby27 April 2024 15:00
By:Brenden Nel

After their defeat to Munster last weekend, the Vodacom Bulls hit back with a vengeance on Saturday, smashing Welsh side Ospreys 61-22 in their Vodacom United Rugby Championship game at Loftus Versfeld.

After their 21-game undefeated record came to an end last weekend which saw their title challenge stutter, the response was swift and impressive from the home side as the World Cup back three of Willie le Roux, Kurt-Lee Arendse and Canan Moodie revelled in the amount of ball they received. The Bulls ran in no less than nine tries, five of these coming from the World Cup-winning back three.

It was a moment that many of the Loftus faithful had waited for, as Le Roux was sublime in his little touches at the back, David Kriel returned to the impressive form he has shown all season and the wingers scored four tries between them and could have had more were it not for the bounce of the ball.

Moodie knocked on in the first half in a disallowed try and the bounce of the ball beat him in the second. Otherwise, he would have had his name in capital letters on the scoresheet instead of the brace he was left smiling with.

Still, it was a reminder that this Bulls side, on their day, could be more than a handful, and any side coming to Loftus will need to be at their best. Granted, referee Chris Busby never allowed the delaying tactics that Adam Jones let Munster get away with last week, and kept the game flowing in strong fashion.


Both sides had the desire to attack, even though the Bulls found more holes than needed against the Ospreys' defence.

Given that both sides are very much in the race for the playoff spots, the Bulls' ability to shift from power to pace will make them a handful if they are in this mood at home in the near future.

The beauty of it all came in the simplest of tries - as a set-piece move from the Bulls found Embrose Papier on the loop and he accelerated, half-beating the tackle before offloading to Arendse, who accelerated again to beat the defence.

It was simple, effective and, most of all, created out of nothing. It was Arendse’s second try and would have probably gone unnoticed by many, but it was a reminder of how dangerous this Bulls side can be.

The Bulls had secured their bonus point by the latter part of the first half, and never seemed to be in any trouble even though they let through some soft tries at times.

Johan Grobbelaar had opened the scoring with a trademark lineout drive try before the Bulls' pace out wide was instrumental in them stretching the lead.

Nizaam Carr appeared in the backline as the extra man as David Kriel stretched the defence, before Arendse returned the favour and sent the midfielder over for the second try.


Luke Davies got the Ospreys on the scoresheet after the Bulls were stretched in their own 22, but the home side hit back with Elrigh Louw rampant down the far touchline before recycled ball took them to the line and a long loop pass to Arendse on the wing saw him get the first of two tries.

Kriel intercepted on the half hour to pass inside and put Moodie onto the scoresheet, and the Bulls were happy at halftime with their 26-10 lead.

It was early in the second half that the Bulls planted the killer blow. In the space of four minutes they scored twice, and could have had a third.

First was the grubber from Harold Vorster that evaded Moodie but the winger got his second a minute later when another grubber - this time from Kriel - bounced perfectly for him to score in the corner.


And then another sublime touch by Le Roux - as the Bulls took a defensive turnover and turned it into points, with Le Roux giving a stunner of a chicken wing pass inside to Kriel, who sent it inside again for a flying Papier to score.

A poor kick by Arendse cost the Bulls as the Ospreys ran it back and beat the fractured defence for Keiran Williams to score.

Yet all was forgiven as the setpiece move that led to Arendse’s second stunned the 8387 crowd and took any thoughts of a comeback away from the visitors.

The Ospreys conceded a penalty try and yellow card for fullback Max Nagy, who mistimed his intercept attempt, colliding with Le Roux as the Bulls had a three-on-one overlap, and it was the Bulls fullback who wrote the final word with an intercept 80-metre run from just outside his own tryline to complete an exceptional Bulls performance.


Vodacom Bulls - tries: Johan Grobbelaar, David Kriel, Kurt-Lee Arendse (2), Canan Moodie (2), Embrose Papier, penalty try, Willie le Roux. Conversions: Chris Smith (7)

Ospreys - tries: Luke Davies, Keiran Williams, Keelan Giles. Conversions: Jack Walsh (2)

Penalty: Walsh