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Vodacom Bulls Overcome Battling Benetton To Reach Final Four

  • 2 min read

The Vodacom Bulls secured their spot in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship semi-finals with a 30-23 win over Benetton at Loftus Versfeld.

The 2022 finalists, the Bulls, had an explosive start, scoring in the first 25 seconds via Kurt-Lee Arendse’s first of two tries, with David Kriel also scoring. Johan Goosen converted all three tries and added three penalties.

In a thrilling opening in Pretoria, Arendse capitalized on Willie le Roux’s chip to score, and Goosen completed the conversion.

Goosen nearly added a second try before Smith’s penalty put Benetton on the scoreboard.

A try by Ratave appeared to put the Italians ahead, but it was disallowed after Federico Ruzza was found offside during Embrose Papier’s kick.

Soon after, the Bulls intensified Benetton’s woes when Arendse, shortly before exiting for an HIA, scored again, with Goosen flawlessly converting.

Benetton continued to fight and scored through Ratave following quick passes, although Smith missed the conversion.

Goosen extended the Bulls’ lead with a penalty, but just before the break, Alessandro Garbisi dropped Ratave’s pass near the try-line.

The second half saw penalties exchanged by Smith and Goosen, with Albornoz missing a drop-goal attempt.

Another penalty from Goosen made the score 20-11. However, Benetton narrowed the gap when Albornoz found a hole in the Bulls’ defense to score, with Smith converting to bring them within two points.

The Bulls quickly responded with a decisive third try as Goosen sliced through Benetton’s defense, setting up Kriel with Papier’s help, which Goosen converted.

Benetton remained resilient, and Fekitoa scored in the corner, though Smith missed the conversion.

Goosen’s final penalty helped the Bulls maintain their lead, ultimately holding off Benetton’s late push to advance.

Vodacom Man of the Match:

Despite being on the losing team, Ratave was outstanding. He scored one try, nearly had another, led the game in meters run (102), and made the most clean breaks (3).

Play of the Match:

With the game tightening, Goosen provided a moment of brilliance, evading several defenders before Papier assisted Kriel for a pivotal try.