- The Bulls recorded their seventh United Rugby Championship win when they crushed the Dragons 55-20 at Loftus Versfeld.
- The win allowed the Bulls to take advantage of the Sharks’ mishap against Edinburgh earlier in the afternoon.
- Lionel Mapoe and Kurt-Lee Arendse scored two tries each, with the latter’s second try the best of the game.
The Bulls were on the cusp of a turkey shoot and it eventually was when they crushed the Dragons 55-20 in their United Rugby Championship encounter at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday night.
The Welsh side could have and should have been encouraged by Friday night’s rain that affected the playing surface and levelled out the playing field.
Instead, the home side was in no mood to be upstaged like the Sharks were by Edinburgh in the earlier game in Durban and scored four first-half tries to lead 31-8 at the interval.
They added a further four tries in the second stanza to ensure the mistakes they made that allowed the Dragons to score three tries were butterfly effects that didn’t lead to a tropical storm.
The Bulls had soft moments that allowed the visitors to get themselves some respect, but also cleaned up their act when the Dragons threatened to get themselves back into the game.
The win was the Bulls’ seventh of the season and their fourth on the trot that allowed them to replace the Sharks in seventh spot on the log.
It should have been a blemish-free finish to a first-half the Bulls dominated, save for a bad defensive read by Chris Smith that allowed Dragons left wing Rio Dyer to saunter over near the posts on the stroke of half-time.
Inexplicably, Dragons flyhalf Sam Davies missed the easy conversion, an act that summed up a forgettable first stanza for the visitors.
The Bulls ran in four contrasting, but evenly effective tries that showcased their physicality and how well they wanted to use it.
Arno Botha was the first Bulls player who crossed the line in the fourth minute, but they needed to wait a further 22 minutes for a second try through Lionel Mapoe.
Were the floodgates open? Well, two minutes later, Kurt-Lee Arendse made sure the Bulls didn’t waste their hard work when he collected a pass from Embrose Papier after the Dragons scrumhalf Gonzalo Bertranou wasted a box-kick.
Hooker Johan Grobbelaar then made sure the Bulls would rest easy at the break when he rumbled over from a rolling maul in the 37th-minute.
The second half started off where the Dragons left it, with outside centre Adam Warren intercepting Smith’s pass that led to Jared Rosser’s try.
Six minutes later, the first-half order was restored when Arendse’s mazy run from just outside his own 10m line not only led to an amazing try, but one that saw him turn Dragons fullback Jordan Williams inside-out.
The Dragons did respond though through Davies, even though the final pass from Williams to Davies was forward, but not ruled as such.
The Bulls then struck back when Cyle Brink crashed over from close range in the 55th-minute to restore the Bulls’ hard-earned dominance.
Mapoe then added his second 10 minutes later and the half-century was achieved when Zak Burger crossed the whitewash two minutes later.
Cornall Hendricks would have put the Bulls past 60, but his try was called back as he was adjudged to be ahead of Morne Steyn’s kick.
The Bulls though had done more than enough for the big win.
Bulls: (31) 55
Tries: Arno Botha, Lionel Mapoe (2), Kurt-Lee Arendse (2), Johan Grobbelaar, Cyle Brink, Zak Burger,
Conversions: Chris Smith (5), Morne Steyn
Dragons: (8) 20
Try: Rio Dyer, Jared Rosser, Sam Davies