2024 Leinster Rugby vs Blue Bulls

Friday Night Lights In The BKT URC Sees Clashes At Both Ends Of The Table

Friday Night Lights In The BKT URC Sees Clashes At Both Ends Of The Table

Leinster Rugby defeated the Vodacom Bulls, while the Dragons defeated Zebre in Round 13 of the BKT United Rugby Championship. Here is a recap of the action.

Mar 30, 2024 by Philip Bendon
Friday Night Lights In The BKT URC Sees Clashes At Both Ends Of The Table

If ever a reminder was needed that the BKT United Rugby Championship’s favorites once again reside in Dublin then last night’s 47-14 Leinster thumping of the second-place Vodacom Bulls was it.

Now, a clear No. 1 has emerged. 

Trailing 14-12 at the break, Leo Cullen put a flex on his opposite number, Jake White, by emptying his star-studded bench.

Offering his version of a ‘Bomb Squad,’ the quality of players called upon by Cullen was a stark reminder of why Leinster once again will challenge in both the URC and Investec Champions Cup this season.

Starting brightly, the Bulls took an early 6-0 lead through the boot of Johan Goosen.

This joy would be short-lived, as Leinster pounced on its first true opportunity. 

Jordan Larmour put on the razzle-dazzle to break through the heart of the Bulls defense. From here, the fullback would find Jamie Osbourne who quickly shoveled the ball onto the onrushing Josh van der Flier.

The former World Player of the Year collided awkwardly with the post as he was dotting down and, despite initial concerns, managed to continue until the 66th minute.

Ten minutes later, hooker Ronan Kelleher touched down for Leinster’s second try, with Harry Byrne just missing the conversion. The scores were at 12-6 in the home side’s favor.

Piling on the pressure, the visitors finished the half with a flourish, as Kurt-Lee Arendse crossed for a try in the 34th minute, before Goosen added a penalty on the stroke of halftime.

This run would prove to be the most positive aspect of the Bulls evening, as Leinster came out of the sheds with purpose.

Bringing on five subs in the 45th minute, Cullen’s side all but ended the match as a contest before the 50-minute mark with two tries in two minutes.

White’s side wouldn’t throw in the towel, as Arendse appeared to cross for his second score, only for it to be reversed for his foul play on Ross Byrne earlier in the move.

Now facing an uphill battle, the Bulls looked out on their feet as Leinster pounced for three more tries to come within a whisker of putting 50 points on its rival.

Dragons Rise From The Base Of The Table

As the battle for the top spot was raging in Dublin, two teams on the other end of the log were duking it out to avoid the wooden spoon, as the Dragons hosted Zebre.

Pouncing first, the Dragons struck through a perfectly taken interception by outside center Aneurin Owen, who strode away in the 17th minute.

Six minutes later, winger Jared Rosser collected a messy ball from the side of the ruck to leave the Zebre defense in his wake.

The Dragons' ill-discipline kept Zebre in the contest, with fly-half Tiff Eden slotting two penalties in the first half.

Despite missing both conversions, fullback Cai Evans slotted a penalty on the stroke of halftime to take the home side into the break with a full score clear at 13-6.

Striking early in the second half, the home side finally had some breathing space, as hooker Elliot Dee scurried over from a well-set driving maul.

Evans converted to take the score to 20-6 with 38 minutes to play.

It would then take until the 74th minute for Zebre to get its first try of the evening, with Eden’s conversion setting up a nervy final five minutes.

In the end, the home side hung on for a much-needed win, which lifted them above both Zebre and the Hollywoodbets Sharks.

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