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Warriors shock Bulls to clinch Vodacom URC crown

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    Posted: 22-Jun-2024 at 8:57pm

The Glasgow Warriors delivered an impressive, polished second-half performance to clinch the Vodacom United Rugby Championship with a pulsating 21-16 triumph over the Vodacom Bulls at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday evening.

 

The Vodacom Bulls led 13-7 at halftime after both sides managed to score a converted try, with fly half Johan Goosen's two successful penalty goals separating the teams at the break.

 

However, the Warriors successfully turned things around in the second half to score two more converted tries and then showed true warrior spirit in defence to restrict the Bulls to just one penalty goal in a second period that was loaded with drama.

 

The result meant bitter disappointment for the Pretoria franchise for the second time in three years following their narrow loss to the DHL Stormers two years ago in Cape Town.

 

On a typical Highveld winter’s evening, the two teams came into the final with a reputation for playing attacking rugby. They didn't disappoint the capacity Loftus crowd by delivering two action-packed halves, which eventually finished in favour of a jubilant Glasgow team.

 

The hosts struck early through two Goosen penalties after the referee had dished out a handful of early penalties against the Warriors, who initially struggled to contain the Bulls at the breakdown.

 

With their lineout functioning well and a solid scrum providing an ideal attacking platform, the Bulls launched several threatening attacks.

 

Scrumhalf Embrose Papier made a dangerous break, and a certain try was foiled just as he was about to release the final pass, while a barging Wilco Louw was held up over the try line.

 

However, the Bulls finally got their try when Springbok Marco van Staden, who had an impressive first half, shrugged off several tackles to score from a clever, short lineout. Goosen was on target with the conversion to increase the lead to 13-0.

 

The Bulls would have been disappointed to drop their guard when Glasgow's No 4 lock George Cummings dived over for their first try on the stroke of halftime, which pulled them right back into the game, with the halftime score at 13-7.

 

Replacement hooker George Turner scored their second try, 14 minutes after the break, from a menacing lineout mall, and when Horne steered the conversion skilfully through the sticks, the visitors were back within two points at 16-14 following an earlier Goosen penalty.

 

The Scottish side was now into their stride and played much better in the second stanza, once they've managed to solve their discipline issues. They proved to be a handful with ball in hand and tested the Bulls defence on numerous occasions.

 

They deservedly took the lead in the 63rd minute through midfielder Hugh Jones' try, with Horne making no mistake with the extras to edge them 21-16 in front. Minutes later they had a fourth try chalked off because of an illegal, early tackle on a Kurt-Lee Arendse, much to the relief of the Bulls faithful.

 

However, there was late drama when the Bulls were awarded a penalty and launched several maul attacks, but the Warriors defended heroically to gain a famous victory in the Jacaranda City.

 

Scorers:

 

Vodacom Bulls (13) 16 - Tries: Marco van Staden. Conversion: Johan Goosen. Penalties: Goosen (3).

 

Glasgow Warriors (7) 21 - Tries: Scott Cummings, George Turner, Hugh Jones. Conversions: George Horne (3).

 

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