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Rugby

Bulls out of Champions Cup after loss to Saints

───   ILSE SMALBERGER 11:16 Sun, 14 Apr 2024

Bulls out of Champions Cup after loss to Saints | News Article
Photo: News24

The Bulls’ decision to send what many believe was a second-rate team to play the Northampton Saints in the Champions Cup quarterfinal, cost them dearly.

The Saints outclassed the Bulls completely in a 59-22 showdown at Franklin Gardens last night. 

The Bulls conceded four tries in the opening 24 minutes scored by Australian-born wing James Ramm, flanker Courtney Lawes, wing Ollie Sleightholme and scrum-half and England national Alex Mitchell.  The Bulls bravely fought back and scored three tries in the first half, courtesy of flanker Camaron Hanekom, Springbok hooker Akker van der Merwe and Sebastian de Klerk.

In the second half, the floodgates open and the Saints scored five more tries, two of them James Ramm’s and Alex Mitchell’s second of the match.  Alex Coles, Fraser Dingwall and Juarno Augustus also went over the line.

After the match, Northampton director of rugby Phil Dowson told BBC Radio 5 Live that they are looking forward to the next challenge. 

“I thought we got a bit sloppy and went away from our fundamentals a little bit and were trying to force a few things, but at the start of the second half we put our foot down again and accelerated and played more like we are accustomed to,” he said.

In the other quarterfinal, Leinster advanced to the semi-finals, where they will play Saints, thanks to a dominant 40 - 13 victory over La Rochelle. This was the fourth year in a row the sides had met in the knockout stages of this competition with La Rochelle having won in each of the past three years.

OFM Sport/Ilse Smalberger

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