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Outclassed Scarlets suffer heavy defeat to Bulls in Pretoria

By PA
GALWAY, IRELAND: October 01: Jake White, head coach of the Vodacom Bulls, watching the team warm up before the Connacht V Vodacom Bulls, United Rugby Championship match at The Sportsground on October 1st, 2021 in Galway, Ireland. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

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The Scarlets fell victim to a rampant Bulls performance as they suffered a 57-12 United Rugby Championship defeat in Pretoria.

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Jake White’s hosts had crossed for five tries – through Canan Moodie, Marcell Coetzee, Cyle Brink, Johan Grobbelaar and Elrigh Louw – by the time Sione Kalamafoni got the Scarlets off the mark eight minutes from half-time.

Ruan Nortje and Grobbelaar extended the Bulls’ advantage with the Scarlets temporarily down to 14 men early in the second half, and Coetzee and Robert Hunt carried their side’s try tally to nine before Rob Evans’ late consolation.

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The result lifts the Bulls to sixth in the overall table and top of the South African Shield ahead of the weekend’s remaining fixtures, while the Scarlets remain 12th.

It took little over a minute for the Bulls to score the game’s first try, with Moodie collecting a brilliant Louw offload to go over out wide.

Dwayne Peel’s men were being given the runaround by their hosts and a wonderful exchange of passes between Kurt-Lee Arendse, Madosh Tambwe and Cornal Hendricks, followed by a Chris Smith cross-kick, put the Bulls deep in Scarlets territory, with Coetzee eventually touching down.

Brink burrowed over for the Bulls’ third in the 14th minute after a driving maul put the home side on the Scarlets’ line.

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If there was any crumb of consolation for the visitors, it was that Smith – who ultimately contributed 10 points to the Bulls’ cause – was not taking full advantage from the tee, converting only one of the opening three tries.

But the fly-half could hardly have asked for an easier kick after Grobbelaar wrapped up the bonus point in the 25th minute by powering over next to the posts.

Louw added a fifth and, although Kalamafoni responded before half-time, a Ioan Nicholas yellow card in the opening minute of the second period was punished with further Bulls tries from Nortje and Grobbelaar – the latter following more great passing from the hosts.

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Coetzee wriggled through a fatigued Scarlets defence for the Bulls’ eighth, and Hunt completed the home side’s scoring before returning Wales prop Evans went over with the last action of the match.

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