Bulls beat Leinster 25-20 to reach United Rugby Championship final

Willie Le Roux was part of the winning Bulls side
Willie Le Roux was part of the winning Bulls side

Bulls 25-20 Leinster, Loftus Versfeld

Bulls have reached the final of the United Rugby Championship for the second time as they edged out Leinster 25-20 in the semi-final at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

The South African side last played in the finals in the 2021/22 season where they were defeated by eventual champions Stormers but now will have a chance to create history as they face the winner of Munster and Glasgow on Saturday.

The home side thought they scored early when Willie Le Roux sent a pass for Devon Williams to score but was disallowed as flanker Marco van Staden made a tackle off the ball in the build up.

Bulls suffered an early setback in the 22nd minute as Sergeal Petersen was sin-binned for a deliberate knock on and Leinster made full use of the numerical advantage as Ross Byrne sent a sharp pass for James Lowe to crossover. Byrne kicked the conversion to make it 0-7.

The hosts responded back in the 29th minute as John Goosen dotted down after collecting a wide pass from Embrose Papier. The fly-half also followed with the extras and a penalty goal as Bulls went into the break with a 10-7 lead.

Petersen made amends for his early yellow card as he collected a perfectly-weighted kick from Harold Vorster to dot down early in the second half and Goosen's conversion made it 17-7 and shortly Leinster turned down a penalty chance with eventually Caelan Doris diving from close range. Byrne followed with the extras and also kicked a penalty goal in the 58th minute as the scores were levelled.

The scores continued to remain level as Goosen and Byrne traded penalty goals but the decisive moment came in the 66th minute as Petersen defeated Ciaran Frawley to collect the ball and score. Goosen missed his first kick of the game despite which Bulls completed a thrilling win to reach the final.

Team line up:

Bulls: Willie le Rouz, Sergeal Petersen, Daniel David Kriel, Harold Vorster, Devon Williams, Johannes Goosen, Embrose Papier, Cameron Hanekom, Elrigh Louw, Marco van Staden, Ruan Nortje, Ruan Vermaak, Wilco Louw, Johan Grobbelaar, Gerhard Steenkamp

Reserves: Akker van der Merwe, Simphiwe Matanzima, Francois Klopper, Reinhardt Ludwig, Nizaam Carr, Keagan Johannes, Christopher Smit, Cornel Smit

Leinster: Jimmy O'Brien, Jordan Larmour, Garry Ringrose, Robbie Henshaw, James Lowe; Ross Byrne, Jamison Gibson-Park; Andrew Porter, Dan Sheehan, Tadhg Furlong; Joe McCarthy, James Ryan (capt); Ryan Baird, Josh van der Flier, Caelan Doris

Reserves: Ronan Kelleher, Cian Healy, Michael Ala’alatoa, Ross Molony, Jack Conan, Luke McGrath, Ciarán Frawley, Jamie Osborne.