Bulls edge Bordeaux in 12-try thriller to reach Champions Cup knockouts

Bulls edge Bordeaux in 12-try thriller to reach Champions Cup knockouts

The Bulls held off a late charge from Bordeaux-Begles to hold on for a 46-40 bonus-point win and qualify for the knockout stages of the Investec Champions Cup.

The hosts scored six tries through a Marcell Coetzee brace, Devon Williams, man-of-the-match David Kriel, Willie le Roux and Embrose Papier. Flyhalf Johan Goosen kicked five conversions whilst his replacement Jaco van der Walt added two penalties to keep his side ahead.

Bordeaux managed to get closer than most would have expected thanks to Romain Buros, Adam Coleman, Madosh Tambwe, a Tevita Tatafu brace and Paul Abadie tries, with Zack Holmes kicking four conversions and Garcia Mateo kicking one.

Bulls skipper Coetzee started the game on a strong note, crossing after just six minutes as Goosen was on hand to add the extras. The visitors did not hang around, though, and ran in a try of their own seven minutes later through a converted Buros effort.

Typical to the clash the Bulls struck back through Williams who was played in by a lovely Goosen skip pass, and the fly-half was on hand to convert the try.

Scoring slowed down for a fair while as the teams dealt with the altitude before Coleman pulled it back a bit for his side in the 33rd minute with Holmes adding the additional points. However, the Bulls would have the last say of the half through Kriel who got a well-deserved try on the stroke of half-time.

The first score of the second period would always be vital and a lovely bit of continuity from the Bulls saw full-back Le Roux cross under the posts for a converted score. Former Bulls wing Tambwe had to get on the scoresheet and did so in the 49th minute.

Once again the hosts responded almost immediately as a broken defensive line left a wide open space for Papier, who capitalised well for a try converted by Goosen again. The scoring continued two minutes later as replacement Tatafu produced a brilliant solo run to score in the 54th minute. His teammate Abadie went over on the hour as the visitors looked dangerous.

With the scores tight, Van der Walt stepped up to kick his first penalty and provide a bit of daylight between the sides. That was quickly squashed by Tatafu's second as it began to get nervy for the Bulls. However, the replacement fly-half for the hosts would kick the final points of the game in the 74th minute to power the Bulls to a win.

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