Bulls kick off URC campaign with win over Lions

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The Bulls have beaten the Lions 31-15 at Ellis Park in Johannesburg in the first match of the new United Rugby Championship series.
Last year’s finalists ran in tries three tries to two, and enjoyed a 15-8 lead at half-time.

The Bulls struck early on when flanker and captain, Marcell Coetzee, crashed over in only the fourth minute of the match.

The two teams went toe-to-toe for the next 20 minutes, but the Bulls made the most of their opportunities and right wing, Cornal Hendricks went over to give them a handy 15-3 lead.

With around six minutes to go in the first half, the Lions launched an impressive fight back. Eighth man, Francke Horn scored, and the Bulls went into the break with a 15-8 lead.

The intensity of the first half, seemed set to continue into the second 40 minutes.

The Lions wasted no time to get onto the board. The home side took the ball through the phases, and centre Marius Louw scored to put his side back in the mix.


Flyhalf Jordan Hendrikse converted, and matters were level at 15-all, but the Lions’ discipline started to let them down. They made too many basic mistakes and Smith’s kicking boot kept the scoreboard ticking over.

With eight minutes to go, the Bulls finally sealed the deal. Replacement hooker Jan-Hendrik Wessels went over after a massive drive by the Bulls forwards. Coetzee’s men finally recorded a 31-15 win, despite not playing at their best.

“Not the perfect performance to be honest. We made it hard for ourselves at times, gave away silly penalties to allow them into our 22. Just giving away soft tries as well. So I think all and all, we’ll assess it and there’s a lot of work on. It’s the first game. We expected it to be rusty, but now onto the next game”, says skipper Marcell Coetzee.

The Bulls will face Edinburgh in Pretoria next Saturday, while the Lions will travel to Swansea for their clash against Ospreys.