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Rugby-Bulls edge Leinster for place in URC final

By Thomson Reuters Jun 15, 2024 | 11:25 AM

PRETORIA (Reuters) – South Africa’s Bulls pulled off a nail-biting 25-20 victory over Leinster to reach the United Rugby Championship final for the second time in three years on Saturday.

They will meet either holders Munster or Glasgow Warriors, who play in Limerick later on Saturday, in next weekend’s final.

If Munster win they will host the final in Ireland, otherwise it will be played in Pretoria.

At Loftus Versfeld on Saturday, Sergeal Petersen, a replacement for the injured Springbok wing Kurt-Lee Arendse, scored two tries after being yellow carded as the Bulls outscored Leinster three tries to two.

The result was another bitter disappointment for the Irish team, who lost to Toulouse in last month’s European Champions Cup final.

The Bulls were first to cross the try line in the 19th minute but Devon Williams’ touch down on the left wing was disallowed because in the build-up loose forward Marco van Staden had cleaned out Leinster’s flyhalf Ross Byrne off the ball.

Petersen was sent to the sin bin four minutes later for a deliberate knock down of the ball and with the one-man advantage Leinster went 7-0 ahead when James Lowe went over on the short side and Byrne converted from a difficult angle.

But despite Petersen still sitting out, the home side levelled on the half hour as flyhalf Johan Goosen burst over after a series of driving mauls had set up the opportunity right in front of the Leinster line. Goosen converted and then added a penalty on the stroke of halftime.

The Bulls got the second half off to a perfect start as Petersen scored in the corner and Goosen’s conversion handed the Pretoria outfit a 10-point lead.

But Leinster stayed in the contest as Caelan Doris powered over in the 51st minute for their second try and Byrne followed with a conversion and 60th minute penalty to level it up at 17-17.

Goosen and Byrne traded penalties as the pressure began to mount, but the Bulls claimed the win when Petersen snatched Embrose Papier’s box kick out of the hands of the Irish team’s defence and dived over for his second try 13 minutes from time.

(Reporting by Mark Gleeson)