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URC result: Bulls beat Zebre – Three takeaways

It looked like it was another episode in the Bulls’ misery on tour given their messy start, but the Currie Cup champions enjoyed an impressive second half as they hammered Zebre Parma 45-7 in their United Rugby Championship match at the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi on Friday evening .

Here are four key insights into the competition.

Forward dominance rewarded

After wasting half a dozen try-scoring opportunities through overzealousness and impatience, the Bulls began to crush their Italian opposition once they moved on to a more measured, patient build-up; attack in installments if you want.

By allowing their huge ball carriers up front to be more direct, the Zebre defense couldn’t just run to the backline like they did before.

Suddenly, the Bulls found themselves behind the win line with regularity, opening the space for flyhalf Chris Smith to pull the strings and allow center Lionel Mapoe and fullback Kurt-Lee Arendse to fulfill the attacking threat they displayed everywhere.

Flyhalf is high

Much has been said about the unavailability of Morne Steyn and Johan Goosen, so coach Jake White will be pleased with Chris Smith’s assured showing in the number 10 jersey.

Not only did he manage with all six of his kicks on target, a few off the sidelines, but his tactical play was excellent and he had a lot to do with the Bulls’ attacking flow.

He played a key role in the Bulls’ crucial first attempt in the second half as they built up a 17-7 lead, kept their feet on their feet under pressure from several tacklers and then freed Arendse with a strong run leading to Marcell Coetzee’s attempt at close range.

Smith’s brilliant kick in the 62nd minute gave the Bulls a 50/22 lineout, from which Mapoe broke through to score and secure the game at 38-7.

Scrum and line-out issues

The Bulls Scrum conceded a few penalties in that game, but that didn’t have much of an effect on the game on this occasion.

But the Bulls wasted several promising attacking positions as their lineout failed, which will no doubt require work over the coming week. They may not be so lucky against better opposition.


Zebre ParmaAttempt -Antonio Rizzi. Conversion – Rizzi.

bullstries – Johan Grobbelaar, Embrose Papier, Marcell Coetzee, Arno Botha, Lionel Mapoe, Kurt-Lee Arendse. conversions – Smith (6). punishment – Chris Smith.

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