With this convincing bonus-point win, the men from Pretoria put two derby defeats behind them to restart their Vodacom URC campaign. The victory was built on the power of their scrum and pack which dominated proceedings and a toiling but over-matched Dragons team apart from a disjointed second quarter.

The visitors had to make a late change with flyhalf Chris Smith forced to withdraw through illness. Johan Goosen took over the No 10 jersey from Smith, who remained at the team hotel along with Director of Rugby, Jake White, who’s also recovering from a cold.

The men from Pretoria raced into a 17-0 lead but let off and made some costly unforced errors, which allowed for a second-quarter rally by the Welsh region that cut the advantage to just three points at half-time.

The Vodacom Bulls negotiated a tough third quarter before their pack, who won no less than six scrum penalties, powered them to two unanswered tries and a convincing victory.

Goosen provided the first spark with a scything counter-attack from deep and link up with Kurt-Lee Arendse, who had the pace to finish. Goosen added the conversion and a penalty goal to give the Vodacom Bulls a 10-0 lead with 11 minutes on the clock.

The relentless pressure the put on the hosts resulted in a penalty try and a yellow card for scrumhalf Lewis Jones for deliberately slapping the ball dead in his in-goal area where Canan Moodie was ready to pounce on Zak Burger’s chip.

Still down to 14 men, the Dragons showed some fire and scored through Bradley Roberts with a clever lineout move moments after Arendse had denied Rio Dyer a try with some determined defence on the other wing.

The seven-pointer revitalized the hosts, who doubled their tally when Max Clark went over in the corner and Sam Davies nailed the difficult conversion. While the Vodacom Bulls still led, the Dragons would’ve been the happier team with the 17-13 halftime scoreline given their poor start.

The men in light blue were under the pump for most of the third quarter but ended it with a third try by hard-running Harold Vorster, who crashed over after the umpteenth dominant scrum.

Their driving maul really started to rumble as well and it saw Bismarck du Plessis dot down the bonus-point and final try of the game in the 65th minute.


Dragons 14 (14) – Tries: Bradley Roberts, Max Clark. Conversions: Sam Davies (2).

Vodacom Bulls 29 (17) – Tries: Kurt-Lee Arendse, Penalty try, Harold Vorster, Bismarck du Plessis. Conversions: Johan Goosen (2). Penalty goal: Goosen.