Home Sport Bulls book URC semi-final spot after surviving Benetton scare

Bulls book URC semi-final spot after surviving Benetton scare

164

Beaten finalists in 2022, the Bulls scored after just 25 seconds through the first of two Kurt-Lee Arendse tries, with David Kriel also going over. Johan Goosen converted all three tries and also landed three penalties.

Kurt-Lee Arendse of the Vodacom Bulls scores A try during the United Rugby Championship 2024 match against Benetton Rugby at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria on the 8th of June 2024. Picture: Nokwanda Zondi, BackpagePix

THE BULLS held out for a hard-fought 30-23 triumph in their United Rugby Championship quarter-final against Benetton at Loftus Versfeld, in Pretoria, on Saturday.

Beaten finalists in 2022, the Bulls scored after just 25 seconds through the first of two Kurt-Lee Arendse tries, with David Kriel also going over. Johan Goosen converted all three tries and also landed three penalties.

Benetton, in the play-offs for only the second time and first since 2019, stayed in the game throughout with tries from Onisi Ratave, Tomas Albornoz and Malakai Fekitoa, with Rhyno Smith adding one conversion and kicking two penalties, but the Bulls held on.

The Bulls made a stunning start in Pretoria when Arendse chased Willie le Roux’s chip over the top to score and Goosen added the extras.

Goosen came close to a second try for the Bulls before Smith’s penalty got Benetton on the board.

Ratave thought he had given the Italians the lead, but his try was chalked off after Federico Ruzza was adjudged to be offside when charging down Embrose Papier’s kick.

Moments later, the Bulls compounded Benetton’s misery as Arendse – who went off shortly afterwards for an HIA – scored his second of the game, with Goosen again making no mistake with the conversion.

Benetton kept battling away and were rewarded when Ratave did get his try after some quick passing, although Smith missed out on the additional two points.

Goosen’s penalty stretched the Bulls’ lead to nine points before Alessandro Garbisi failed to hold Ratave’s pass inside with the try-line gaping just before half-time.

Smith and Goosen traded second-half penalties either side of Albornoz missing a drop-goal attempt. Another Goosen penalty made it 20-11 but back came Benetton and Albornoz spotted a gap in the Bulls defence to go over, with Smith making it a two-point game.

The Bulls then grabbed a crucial third try shortly afterwards, with Goosen jinking his way through the Benetton defence before Papier played in Kriel, which Goosen again converted. However, Benetton refused to go away and Fekitoa went over in the corner, although Smith could not add the extras.

Goosen knocked over another penalty before the Bulls survived some late Benetton pressure to advance.

Previous articleStubbs and Miller combine as Proteas finally beat the Dutch
Next articleHugo Broos heaps praise on Bafana Bafana after Nigeria draw