The Vodacom Bulls climbed to the top of the Vodacom United Rugby Championship table after a gusty victory over Cardiff in Wales on Friday night.
Two tries in as many minutes midway through the first half earned the Bulls a lead the visitors were never to lose, and set them on course for a 18-12 win at the Arms Park.
It began with outside centre Stedman Gans getting the ball free out of contact, enabling midfield partner David Kriel to chip ahead where scrumhalf Embrose Papier picked up and raced over.
Sebastian de Klerk then picked off an attempted pass 60 metres out by Tinus de Beer and raced in unopposed under the posts for a second Bulls score.
When the kick connects 🤩
— BKT United Rugby Championship (URC) (@URCOfficial) November 10, 2023
Wing Mason Grady got Cardiff back into the game when he was worked over for a try in the left corner midway through the half.
The Bulls introduced No 8 Cameron Hanekom at the start of the second half, giving onlooking Wales head coach Warren Gatland a sneak peek, and started the second half with a bang.
They thundered into the home 22 and picked up a penalty that flyhalf Chris Smith put over to extend their lead three minutes after the restart.
Moments later, his opposite number Rey Lee-Lo picked up at the base of a ruck on the Bulls 22 and simply sprinted through a giant defensive hole to score at try under the posts.
With De Beer’s simple conversion, the gap was cut to three points with 26 minutes to play but Smith’s 61st-minute penalty stretched the lead and Bulls held on.
Jake White’s men now have 15 log points from four matches and will turn their attention to Edinburgh next Friday for the final stop of their European tour.
Photo: Chris Fairweather/Huw Evans/Shutterstock