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Bulls player ratings vs Munster | 2023/24 URC

By Ian Cameron
Simon Zebo of Munster attempts to get away from David Kriel of Vodacom Bulls during the United Rugby Championship match between Vodacom Bulls and Munster at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria, South Africa. (Photo By Shaun Roy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Bulls player ratings: The Bulls were shocked at Loftus by a Munster side that took advantage after a red card for flyhalf Johan Goosen reduced the home side to 14 men.

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Here’s how the Bulls players rated:

1. Gerhard Steenekamp – 6
Managed some solidity in scrums but lacked the usual impact in loose play against a tough Munster pack.

2. Johan Grobbelaar – 8
Pleasingly busy around the park, Grobbelaar kept the Munster pack on their toes with his all-action play. Deservedly got over the line with a powerful surge in the 50th minute.

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3. Wilco Louw – 5
The big tighthead showed moments of dominance in the scrum, but didn’t have it all his own way. A couple of fumbles but it’s hard to hold that against a prop.

4. Ruan Vermaak – 6
Started well but his physical intensity ebbed against a relentless Munster side.

5. JF van Heerden – 6
Played his part in the first-half dominance, but like Vermaak, was part of the Bulls pack that started to run out of steam in the second half.

6. Cameron Hanekom – 7
His gritty performance and relentless tackling were a highlight and had left the field before Goosen’s red and Munster’s revival.

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7. Reinhardt Ludwig – 6
His efforts at the breakdown were noteworthy, although he found it hard to turn over as much ball against Munster’s back row. A couple of uncharacteristic handling errors will irk.

8. Elrigh Louw – 8
Louw’s powerful runs and defensive work were central to the Bulls’ efforts, even in defeat. Must surely be on Rassie’s Springbok No.8 watchlist.

9. Embrose Papier – 6
Directed the game well with solid service and smart decision-making, keeping the Munster defence guessing on his 50th Bulls cap.

10. Johan Goosen – 5
Controlled the game’s tempo superbly with eye for a gap and generally strong game management. Against that, some questionable decisions on occasion blotted his copybook, not least trying to play the ball across his own line in the 33rd minute. A clumsy red card tackle attempt in the 53rd minute took the shine off what would have been an 8 out of 10 performance.

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11. Kurt-Lee Arendse – 7
Was incredibly busy in defence even if he had limited opportunities to show off his scintillating attacking abilities.

12. David Kriel – 7
Made a spectacular over-the-ruck dive for the line in the 44th minute and was a menace on both sides of the ball. Hard to fault.

13. Canan Moodie – 5
Kept quiet in attack in the first half thanks to Munster’s solid backline unit. His own defence was far from perfect, however. Burst into life in the second half, riding the tackle of Jack Crowley to dive over in the corner for what looked like a brilliant finish, although the try was ultimately disallowed for Goosen’s head-on-head tackle on Craig Casey.

14. Sebastian de Klerk – 6.5
Busy in attack before being clattered by Calvin Nash in a 50-50 ball and went off for a HIA. Returned in the second half and resumed his attacking menaces.

15. Willie Le Roux – 6
The veteran fullback ensured the Bulls were solid at the back. Some wonderful flat passing on show too. Took up kicking duties when Goosen was sent off.

REPLACEMENTS:

16. Akker van der Merwe – 5
Entered into a tough situation and struggled to make a positive impact against a surging Munster.

17. Simphiwe Matanzima – 5
Couldn’t provide the necessary boost in the scrum or open play.

18. Mornay Smith – 6
Contributed to a continued strong scrummaging effort and held his own in tight.

19. Janko Swanepoel – 5
Added fresh legs but couldn’t alter the course of the match under the sustained Munster attacks.

20. Celimpilo Gumede – 5
His presence at the breakdown was not enough to disrupt Munster’s control.

21. Zak Burger – 5
Entered under difficult circumstances and couldn’t spark the needed change in pace or direction.

22. Chris William Smith – 6
Played a part in maintaining the Bulls’ strategic kicking game late in the match, but it wasn’t enough.

23. Devon Williams – 5
Saw little of the ball and was unable to provide the needed breakthrough.

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D
Diarmid 9 hours ago
Players and referees must cut out worrying trend in rugby – Andy Goode

The guy had just beasted himself in a scrum and the blood hadn't yet returned to his head when he was pushed into a team mate. He took his weight off his left foot precisely at the moment he was shoved and dropped to the floor when seemingly trying to avoid stepping on Hyron Andrews’ foot. I don't think he was trying to milk a penalty, I think he was knackered but still switched on enough to avoid planting 120kgs on the dorsum of his second row’s foot. To effectively “police” such incidents with a (noble) view to eradicating play acting in rugby, yet more video would need to be reviewed in real time, which is not in the interest of the game as a sporting spectacle. I would far rather see Farrell penalised for interfering with the refereeing of the game. Perhaps he was right to be frustrated, he was much closer to the action than the only camera angle I've seen, however his vocal objection to Rodd’s falling over doesn't legitimately fall into the captain's role as the mouthpiece of his team - he should have kept his frustration to himself, that's one of the pillars of rugby union. I appreciate that he was within his rights to communicate with the referee as captain but he didn't do this, he moaned and attempted to sway the decision by directing his complaint to the player rather than the ref. Rugby needs to look closely at the message it wants to send to young players and amateur grassroots rugby. The best way to do this would be to apply the laws as they are written and edit them where the written laws no longer apply. If this means deleting laws such as ‘the put in to the scrum must be straight”, so be it. Likewise, if it is no longer necessary to respect the referee’s decision without questioning it or pre-emptively attempting to sway it (including by diving or by shouting and gesticulating) then this behaviour should be embraced (and commercialised). Otherwise any reference to respecting the referee should be deleted from the laws. You have to start somewhere to maintain the values of rugby and the best place to start would be giving a penalty and a warning against the offending player, followed by a yellow card the next time. People like Farrell would rapidly learn to keep quiet and let their skills do the talking.

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