Date Time Competition Season
30 September 2022 5:30 pm United Rugby Championship 2022/23

Match Report

Vodacom Bulls survive late Connacht fight back

A strong first half performance from Vodacom Bulls was enough to beat Connacht 28-14 in the URC.

It's now three successive defeats for Connacht who face games against Munster and Leinster in the next couple of weeks.

Last season’s URC runners up came firing out of the blocks from the off, playing at their usual high tempo immediately.

It looked like Bulls had taken the lead inside the opening two minutes through Johann Grobbelaar, but upon further inspection from the TMO, the try was ruled out.

Five minutes later, the deadlock was broken after Thomas Farrell’s pass was intercepted by Kurt Lee Arendse on the halfway line. The South Africa international raced underneath the posts and touched down.

Johan Groosen converted for the extra two points. Just minutes after the restart, they doubled their advantage after a rapid attack led by Canan Moodie.

After recycling the ball Zak Burger touched down for his first try of the season. Groosen converted again, leaving Connacht with a huge task for the remainder of the game.

Connacht did slowly grow into the game, but a number of unforced errors stopped them from threatening Vodacom Bulls.

Just before half time, Bulls struck again after a tap and go on the Connacht five metre line. Captain Marcell Coetzee powerfully, bulldozed over the try line for his side’s third try of the affair. Johan Groosen added the extras, sending them into the break with a 21-0 advantage.

Connacht built pressure on the Bulls’ defence early in the second period, but yet again, they couldn’t turn territory into a score.

Zak Burger then found his second of the game just over five minutes into the second half, sealing the bonus point for the hosts. Yet again, Groosen converted.

Bulls remained in control I the third quarter of the game, with their high intensity and powerful carries proving a nightmare for Andy Friend’s side.

In the 68th minute, Connacht finally found their first points of the game with a good drive from Jack Aungier resulting in the replacement prop touching down.

David Hawkshaw converted, reducing the deficit.

With just under seven minutes remaining, Connacht did score again after David Hawkshaw charged down Chris Smith’s clearance. The Connacht out half ran over the line for his side’s second try of the game and also converted, but it was too little too late for Connacht at the Bulls hung on.

Vodacom Bulls

15Kurt-Lee Arendse Full-Back 7'
14Canan Moodie 23 Winger
13Cornal Hendricks Centre
12David Kriel Centre
11Sbu Nkosi Winger
10Johan Goosen 22 Fly-Half 8', 11', 40', 46'
9Zak Burger 21 Scrum-Half 10', 45'
1Gerhard Steenekamp 17 Prop
2Johan Grobbelaar 16 Hooker
3Francois Klopper 18 Prop
4Walt Steenkamp Lock
5Ruan Nortje Lock
6Marcell Coetzee Flanker 39'
7Marco van Staden 20 Flanker 16'
8Elrigh Louw No. 8
16Jan-Hendrik Wessels 2 Hooker 66'
17Simphiwe Matanzima 1 Prop
18Mornay Smith 3 Prop
19Janko Swanepoel Lock
20Reinhardt Ludwig 7 Lock
21Embrose Papier 9 Scrum-Half
22Chris Smith 10 Fly-Half
23Lionel Mapoe 14 Centre


15Oran McNulty Winger
14John Porch Winger
13Thomas Farrell Centre
12Tom Daly 22 Centre
11Mack Hansen Fly-Half
10David Hawkshaw Centre 73'
69', 74'
9Kieran Marmion 21 Scrum-Half
1Denis Buckley 17 Prop
2Dave Heffernan 16 Hooker
3Finlay Bealham 18 Prop
4Leva Fifita 19 Lock
5Oisin Dowling Flanker
6Josh Murphy 23 Flanker
7Conor Oliver 20 Flanker
8Jarrad Butler No. 8
16Grant Stewart 2 Prop
17Peter Dooley 1 Prop
18Jack Aungier 3 Prop 68'
19Gavin Thornbury 4 Lock
20Shamus Hurley-Langton 7 Flanker
21Colm Reilly 9 Scrum-Half
22Byron Ralston 12 Winger
23Ciaran Booth 6 No. 8

Past Meetings

(Round 2)
34 - 7
United Rugby Championship
The Sportsgrounds

Connacht v Vodacom Bulls


Loftus Versfeld
Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Kirkness Street, Arcadia, Tshwane Ward 92, Pretoria, City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality, Gauteng, 0083, South Africa

Luke is a final year Journalism student in DCU. He is a Sports Reporter for Wicklow People Sport and