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Watch: Willie le Roux claims debut try as Bulls cruise to a big win

(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

South Africa Rugby World Cup winner Willie le Roux claimed a debut try as the Bulls cruised to a crushing 53-27 bonus-point victory over Connacht in the United Rugby Championship.


Playing his first match since helping the Springboks retain the Webb Ellis Cup, full-back Le Roux was joined on the scoresheet by Akker van der Merwe, Elrigh Louw, Ruan Nortje, Nizaam Carr, David Kriel and Chris Smith.

Fly-half Jaco van der Walt added five conversions and two penalties for the dominant South African hosts. Connacht hit back through tries from Diarmuid Kilgallen, Tadgh McElroy and Shamus Hurley-Langton, plus 10 points from Jack Carty, but were unable to prolong their strong start to the season in Pretoria.

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Victory for the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld Stadium was a fourth from six URC fixtures this term, a record that matches that of the outclassed Irish province.

While the South African side handed a maiden appearance to veteran le Roux following his four-year spell with Japanese club Toyota Verblitz, the away side remained without injured Ireland pair Bundee Aki and Mack Hansen.

Recalled Connacht captain Carty and rival number 10 van der Walt exchanged early penalties before the hosts seized the initiative. Hooker van der Merwe claimed the opening try, benefiting from a series of fine offloads involving Sebastian de Klerk and captain Nortje to cross wide on the right.

Flanker Louw quickly added a second by powering over from close range after spotting a gap in Connacht’s defensive line. The visitors were seeking another scalp on South African soil following last weekend’s single-point success over the Sharks in Durban.


Yet they were on the back foot for much of an entertaining opening period which the hosts ended with a convincing 32-13 advantage. Following further penalties from former Scotland international van der Walt and Carty, lock Nortje registered the Bulls’ third try with a simple finish after Zak Burger’s dummy broke the line.

Connacht briefly responded when wing Kilgallen raced clear to touch down wide on the left. But le Roux quickly extinguished a potential momentum shift by collecting a stray pass from de Klerk to bag the bonus point on his landmark outing just before the break.

Bulls scrum-half Burger was denied a breakaway try early in the second period when the television match official spotted a cynical infringement in the build-up, which resulted in a yellow card for van der Merwe. Hooker McElroy then burrowed over as Connacht capitalised on the man advantage.

However, the Irish side soon lost replacement back row Conor Oliver to the sin-bin after he conceded a penalty which led to Bulls number eight Carr going over.


Kriel’s fifth URC try of the season, in the 66th minute, made the scoreline more emphatic before replacement fly-half Smith converted his own score, prior to Hurley-Langton’s late consolation on a punishing afternoon for the away team.

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Red and White Dynamight 3 hours ago
Duhan van der Merwe hat-trick sinks sloppy England to win Calcutta Cup

Up the Jocks ! a great team effort and 4 victories v on the bounce v their greatest rivals for those north of Hadrians. But, of course, before the celebrations survive the first pint of McEwans, it seems for some this Calcutta Cup match was merely 1 man v 15. What exactly is it about Sth Africans that make them such insufferable bores ? you rarely see Kiwis claiming Ireland victories (incl 3 x NZers) or Aussies for that matter (X1). You never see Samoans claiming France/England victories (Tuilagis). Or Fijians claim All Black victories. Scotland have had some great Kiwi-born players (S.Lineen/B.Laney/J.Leslie) - no surprise given their heritage - but they supported them as their ‘2nd team’. If anything they applaud their countrymen for taking opportunities and bettering themselves as professionals and, hopefully, competing on the World stage too. It takes some stratospheric level of stupid to ignore the opaque boundaries and qualifications that now allow Japan to be competitive, Portugal to win a RWC game, Argentinians to play for Italy, New Zealanders to dominate Tongan and Samoan teams - and not celebrate that World Rugby is more competitive and better for it. Everywhere on social media, even when the post has zero to do with Sth Africans (schoolboy rugby being the most obvious barrel-scraping eg - these are KIDS), they pile in and try to claim the “we are better/stronger/faster” with such voluminous levels of obnoxious bile, that it poisons the mere celebration of the sport itself. These are not ‘rugby fans’ that can marvel at the Game they Play in Heaven, but rather some misplaced insecure-fuelled poison that they need to extract from deep inside their psyche. Its hard to understand the exact reason for the massive chip on their shoulders and their desperation for the victimhood/noone-loves-us-we-dont-care, but it seems accelerated with their LOTTO Cup 1-pt wins, like gasoline on the fire. Obsessed with ‘cheating’ refs and ‘cheating’ opposition (Rassies video bloopers during Lions tour; McCaw’s whole career) and celebrating their own thuggery (#JUSTICE4 the dirtiest player in pro-rugby history), when luck suddenly goes their way (1995 Final vs an acutely comprimised ABs; Kilosi<->Cane cards in 2023 Final) or their players escape adequate penalty (Etzebeth 1-handed non-intercepts; Kolbe illegal chargedown; Etzebeth cynically retreating in the AB backline) so obviously that its clearly been coached, then suddenly its AOK as long its SA that benefit directly from it. The schizophrenic nature of Sth Africans presents them as good company in person - and lets face it, theyre EVERYWHERE now and cant get out of their own country fast enough - but as anonymous keyboard ninjas their true nature shines out as one beset with a dark undercurrent of toxic self-absorption. It appears that the bravado appears only under the protection of anonymity, a cowardice of insufferable reverse-flagellation to make themselves feel proud when the mirror stares back at them. Give yourselves a long slow clap. Well done to the entire Scotland team including all those born south of Hadrians Wall. Playing a fantastic fast pace of fluid ball-in-hands rugby that seems almost foreign to other teams. Och aye the noo.

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