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Bulls face ultimate test in Toulouse

Friday 31st March 2023

10:00 am (GMT)

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Bulls face ultimate test in Toulouse

David Kriel goes over for Vodacom Bulls' second try against Exeter Chiefs in Round 3 of the Heineken Champions Cup

Vodacom Bulls’ first appearance in the Heineken Champions Cup knockout stage sees them face the ultimate test as they travel to record five-time winners Stade Toulousain in the Round of 16 on Sunday.

The South African side scraped into the last 16 by finishing seventh of the eight qualifiers from Pool A, winning both their home games, against Lyon and Exeter Chiefs, but losing their two away matches heavily – 44-14 at Exeter and 31-7 in France.

Meanwhile, Toulouse won all four of their pool fixtures – against Munster Rugby and Sale Sharks – to come second in Pool B behind reigning champions Stade Rochelais.

The game at Le Stadium, the first between the pair in the competition, kicks off at 15:00 (UK & Irish time) and can be watched on France TV, beIN SPORTS, Super Sport and FloRugby.

Key quote

Vodacom Bulls director of rugby Jake White: “It doesn’t get any tougher than playing Toulouse in a knockout game in Toulouse. If you look at the Champions Cup historically, that’s one of the strongest home beds of European rugby. So, it’s going to be a massive task for us.”

Stade Toulousain

Antoine Dupont has made the most kicks in play in the tournament (54) and the most metres kicked (1,482).

Romain Ntamack has made more metres from penalty kicks than any other player (916).

Emmanuel Meafou has made the most dominant tackle contacts in the competition (seven).

Stade Toulousain have the best lineout success rate of the competition (94%).

Vodacom Bulls

Vodacom Bulls have scored more tries after winning a turnover than any other team (five) and have scored more tries during their second or third phase than anyone else (seven).

Of the teams left, the Bulls are the most efficient in the opposition 22 in terms of tries, scoring from a competition-high 41% of their 22 entries.

They have won more scrum penalties on the opposition put-in than any other team (five).

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Vodacom Bulls well beaten at classy Toulouse

Sunday 2nd April 2023

4:50 pm (GMT)

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Vodacom Bulls well beaten at classy Toulouse

Matthis Lebel goes over for Toulouse's second try against Vodacom Bulls

Stade Toulousain ended Vodacom Bulls’ maiden Heineken Champions Cup campaign with a commanding 33-9 win at Le Stadium on Sunday.

Emmanuel Meafou, Matthis Lebel and Thibaud Flament went over in a dominant second-half display from the five-time champions, Thomas Ramos adding a further 18 points from the tee.

Vodacom Bulls battled hard but bow out at the Round of 16 stage, with three Chris Smith penalties all they could muster in France.

The first half was a fascinating, tactical battle in the south-west of France, fly-half Smith putting Vodacom Bulls ahead with a penalty after a minute before full-back Ramos struck three quick-fire efforts of his own.

Toulouse wrestled control of the contest as the half wore on, piling on the pressure and ultimately forcing a yellow card for Vodacom Bulls centre Harold Vorster as he was punished for a string of offences in the red zone.

But the visitors would defend superbly to survive the 10-minute period with a man less, Toulouse opting to take three points through Ramos as they were met with stubborn resistance.

And Vodacom Bulls would cancel out that effort immediately after as Smith slotted a second penalty following the restart, before they battled to half-time and returned to their full complement after the break.

Smith slotted a third penalty early in the second half, but Toulouse began to click into gear, lock Meafou punching through from close range on 50 minutes after their best attacking move of the game.

Ramos’ conversion established a 10-point gap and that widened further four minutes later as wing Lebel finished brilliantly in the corner after being teed up scrum-half Antoine Dupont.

Flanker Flament notched a third score on 64 minutes, starting the move with surge through midfield before diving on Dupont’s chip over the Vodacom Bulls defence.

Toulouse pushed for a fourth try over the remaining minutes, but Vodacom Bulls stuck to their task and repelled the hosts on several occasions.

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