2024 Vodacom Bulls vs Glasgow Warriors - URC Grand Final

2023-2024 BKT URC Final Preview: Red Hot Warriors To Overturn Vodacom Bulls

2023-2024 BKT URC Final Preview: Red Hot Warriors To Overturn Vodacom Bulls

The Glasgow Warriors will travel to Loftus Versfeld to face the Vodacom Bulls in the 2023-2024 BKT United Rugby Championship final. Here is a match preview.

Jun 21, 2024 by Philip Bendon
2023-2024 BKT URC Final Preview: Red Hot Warriors To Overturn Vodacom Bulls

Fourteen years on from claiming an emphatic Super Rugby final title over their rivals the DHL Stormers, the Vodacom Bulls once again are at the precipice of securing a major title.

With the days of South African participation in Super Rugby firmly in the rear view mirror, the Bulls are looking to become the second South African side to claim the coveted BKT URC title. Ironically, the Pretoria side was denied two seasons ago by the very same Stormers they defeated all those years ago.

Fast forward to this season, and it is Scottish side Glasgow that stands between Jake White’s side and a famous day in front of a sold Loftus Versfeld.

While the Bulls may feel that destiny is in their hands following their impressive dismissal of a star-studded Leinster side in last weekend’s semifinal, their opponents have no intention of merely making up the numbers.

For their part, the Warriors were equally impressive in bringing an end to Munster’s reign as champion.

As the final whistle echoed around Thomond Park, the silence in the crowd was eerie and would be just how the Warriors would want to leave Loftus when it is all said and done Saturday evening.

So, without further ado, here is a preview of the upcoming action, which will be streamed live - and exclusively - on FloRugby.

Team News

Starting with the home side, it is a case of one in, one out for White’s side, as Springboks fullback Willie Le Roux is unavailable through injury.

In Le Roux’s absence, Devon Williams will shift from the wing to fullback, while World Cup winner Kurt Lee Arendse returns on the left wing.

Outside of this change, White has opted for consistency with an unchanged lineup.

On the other side, Glasgow head coach Franco Smith has made no changes to his side that upset Munster at Thomond Park.

Key Matchup

The key to victory for both sides in the semifinals was the physicality brought by their respective center partnerships.

Interestingly, the combinations are similar in how they are constructed, with both inside centers in Sione Tuipulotu (Glasgow) and Harold Vorster (Bulls), being bruisers, while their outside partners - Huw Jones (Glasgow) and David Kriel (Bulls) - offer exceptional strike running threats.

Of course, this is a simplified assessment of the four players, given they all are well-rounded. However, in principle, this is how they have operated within their respective systems.

In Limerick, Tuipulotu went after Munster fly-half Jack Crowley, who is no slouch defensively but is at a serious disadvantage in terms of weight and power. Getting good gain line ball on a consistent basis ensured that the Warriors struck when given half a chance, which in the end, proved to be the difference, as Jones scampered away.

On the other side of the globe, Vorster, while not as headline-grabbing as Tuipulotu, did the same thing to Leinster’s Ross Byrne to great effect. This tactic set the platform for the Bulls aerial and wide attacking game to expose the Leinster rush defense.

Finally, Kriel arguably has been the Bulls best player this season with consistent eight or nine out of 10 efforts. 

Bringing a physical edge to the outside channel with bundles of pace, Kriel has the ability to not only facilitate for those around him, but break the line and finish moves himself. Jones, too, has this ability and is nearing the best form of his career at just the right time for the Warriors.


By no means will this fixture be a cake walk in the way many in the South African rugby sphere believe it will be.

The Warriors are a serious outfit stacked to the gills with international talent accustomed to playing on the biggest of stages.

Certainly, the Bulls will enter the fixture as favorites on the fact that they are at home and have avoided the significant travel factor associated with crossing between hemispheres.

Yet still, this writer has a nagging feeling that given their experience and attacking structures, the Warriors are closer to a 50/50 proposition.

Should Franco Smith’s side hang in there and avoid conceding points in bunches, as they did during their pool-stage meeting, then they will bring a level of doubt to the Bulls late in the contest.

Across the backline, the visitors hold the edge, while in the pack, there is little to choose between the two sides. 

While it undoubtedly is not the popular choice, the Warriors are on a roll, similar to Munster last season, and are the more in-form of the two sides. Glasgow by four points.



15 Devon Williams, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 David Kriel, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Embrose Papier, 8 Cameron Hanekom, 7 Elrigh Louw, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Ruan Nortje (c), 4 Ruan Vermaak, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Johan Grobbelaar, 1 Gerhard Steenekamp

Replacements: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima, 18 Francois Klopper, 19 Reinhardt Ludwig, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Zak Burger, 22 Chris Smith, 23 Cornel Smit

Glasgow Warriors

15 Josh McKay, 14 Sebastian Cancelliere, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Sione Tuipulotu, 11 Kyle Steyn (c), 10 Tom Jordan, 9 George Horne, 8 Jack Dempsey, 7 Rory Darge, 6 Matt Fagerson, 5 Richie Gray, 4 Scott Cummings, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 Johnny Matthews, 1 Jamie Bhatti

Replacements: 16 George Turner, 17 Nathan McBeth, 18 Oli Kebble, 19 Max Williamson, 20 Euan Ferrie, 21 Henco Venter, 22 Jamie Dobie, 23 Duncan Weir

How To Watch Top 14 In The USA

The Top 14 will stream all its matches on FloRugby and the FloSports app in the United States. 

FloRugby and FloSports also are the U.S. home to:

FloRugby also is home to match archives and match replays. 

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