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Bulls player ratings vs Glasgow | 2023/24 URC Final

By Philip Bendon
Johan Goosen

Bulls player ratings: The Vodacom Bulls let slip a golden opportunity to claim a first international title since 2010 as they lost at home to the Glasgow Warriors 21 – 16.


Claiming the first try of the contest through backrow Marco van Staden in the 24th minute, the Bulls looked to be on their way to a win as they raced into a 13 – 0 lead.

As they showed in the semi-final, Glasgow are a tough nut to crack as they methodically worked their back into the contest before taking the lead in the 62nd minute as Huw Jones scampered over the line. Once ahead the Scottish side would never relinquish the lead as they claimed their first BKT United Rugby Championship title.

Here is how the Bulls players fared in the final.

1. Gerhard Steenekamp – 7
Another week, another international tighthead manhandled… The 27-year-old gave Scotland stalwart Zander Ferguson as many headaches as he did to Ireland star Tadhg Furlong a week earlier. Such was his impact that Jake White kept him on for 73 minutes before he shuffled off, having clearly emptied the tank.

2. Johan Grobbelaar – 6
Hovering around just about every breakdown, the hooker was an ever-present poaching threat and came good on a number of occasions, most notably in the 45th minute, where he stopped a strong Glasgow attack in its tracks. He led his team in the first half tackle stakes with eleven and would make six more before being substituted in the 50th minute.

3. Wilco Louw – 7
A seek and destroy performance at scrum time for the 14 times-capped Springbok who obliterated Scottish international Jamie Bhatti. Not often heralded as a ball carrier he utilised all 126 kilograms of his mass to make some key yardage for his side for the full 73 minutes he was on the pitch.


Penalties Conceded
Yellow Cards
Red Cards

4. Ruan Vermaak – 5
The Bulls banker at line-out time, the physical lock, was a willing carrier when needed, as he made a few key carries when his side was under pressure. Defensively, he was good but simply could not make an impact on the Glasgow driving maul.


5. Ruan Nortje – 5
It was an assured performance from the captain, who largely had a strong game in terms of decision-making for the majority of the match. He will; however, rue calling a conservative line-out at the end of the match, which made their maul relatively simple for Glasgow to defend, which they duly did.

6. Marco van Staden – 6
The workhorse in the Bulls backrow stole the limelight in the final as he showed his rugby intelligence to get over for the opening try of the match. Being stopped at the first attempt, he quickly placed the ball on the ground and went again to get over the line. Utilising an ultra-low to-the-ground approach in the carry makes him incredibly tough to stop, whilst his chop tackling technique was brutally effective today.

7. Elrigh Louw – 5
A diesel-powered Toyota Land Cruiser of a player, Louw never stopped and had some big impacts on the fixture with dominant carries and momentum-stunting hits. Targeting the ball in the hit, he managed to slow down the Glasgow carriers from getting to the ground, buying crucial seconds for his team to realign in defence.

8. Cameron Hanekom – 5
Not quite the all singing and all dancing performance that he has become renowned for but it was an impressive workmanlike showing from the number eight. Despite not having any noticeable clean breaks, he made a handful of impactful carries into the heart of the resilient Glasgow defence and had a key turnover in the first half. Worryingly for the Springbok coaching staff he limped off in the 48th minute.


22m Entries

Avg. Points Scored
Avg. Points Scored

9. Embrose Papier – 5
Provided a clean service and dictated the tempo of the Bulls’ attack well in the first fifty minutes. When Glasgow upped their intensity at the breakdown, and he had to go digging for the ball, his impact waned, and the sniping runs he was making in the first half dried up.

10. Johan Goosen – 6
Got his team off to a dream start with a penalty within the first two minutes of the match and had a really strong first sixty minutes as he kept the ball in front of his pack. Defensively, he was solid against Tuipulotu and slotted into the fullback role on a handful of occasions to return kicks with aplomb. From the kicking tee, he was once again exceptional; however, as his pack lost parity, he began to sit deeper into the pocket, which allowed Glasgow to hit the Bulls carriers behind the gain-line.

11. Kurt-Lee Arendse – 4
Not the most impactful of showings from the Springbok star, who didn’t appear to be 100% fit. Started the match well with a big tackle but was unusually quiet for the rest of the match and rarely featured in the attacking game. Not getting on the end of a pass from Devon Williams, who made a searing break, will leave him frustrated, and he was fortunate to avoid a yellow card on two occasions when he took out Glasgow players in the air.

12. Harold Vorster – 4
Had a good battle with Glasgow’s physical centre Sione Tuipulotu and was by and large good in defence. One clever grubber kick aside he had little impact in the attacking game as the Glasgow defenders lined him up and chopper him down which limited him ability to get over the gain-line.

13. David Kriel – 4
A disappointing outing for the highly promising centre as he slipped several tackles that put his side under pressure. In attack, he had little impact against his experienced Glasgow opponents and will have to chalk this one down as a learning experience.

14. Sergeal Petersen – 5
He started brightly as he operated in the Wille Le Roux role as a roaming attacker behind the front line, making a few half-breaks. Defensively, his turnover set up the Bulls for the opening try of the match. The second half was a different story as he struggled to adjust to Glasgow’s shift in tactics, which saw the Scottish side employ a short, contestable kicking game.


Team Logo
Team Logo

15 Devon Williams – 4
Outside of a big break in the first half, he struggled to make any real impact in attack. Defensively, he was solid as he commanded the air and managed to defuse several probing Glasgow high balls.

16. Akker van der Merwe – 4
He lacked the usual oomph that he brings from the bench and was a clear step below Grobbelaar, albeit he entered the contest when Glasgow began to mount their comeback.

17. Simphiwe Matanzima – 4
Very few notable influences outside of a strong scrummaging performance, in his defence he only had seven minutes to work with.

18. Francois Klopper – 5
Caught without support late in the contest, he was penalised for not releasing, which was the final nail in the coffin for his side. This aside, he picked up where Louw had left off, and he got on top of the Glasgow pack at scrum time.

19. Reinhardt Ludwig – 7
Bringing great energy from the bench, he challenged Glasgow at the lineout and hassled George Horne around the breakdown.

20. Nizaam Carr – 5

Very much a cog in the machine, Carr did his job but is just a step behind the dynamism that Hanekom brings to the table and this was noticeable when the Bulls needed a big carry.

21. Zak Burger – N/A

An unused substitute.

22. Chris Smith – N/A
An unused substitute.

23. Cornel Smit – N/A
An unused substitute.


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1 Comment
Jonathan 31 days ago

Again disagree with the scoring Grobbelaar was by far their best player with so many turnovers and when he went off they didn’t get the turnovers and lost. He should have been 8 not 5. Can you look at the stats and make judgements based on fact not sentiment.

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