Physicality the property Bulls most proud of, smashed up front by Lyon » Cypher9ja

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The physicality of their pack is probably the property the Bulls are most proud of, but they were absolutely destroyed up front, and everywhere else for that matter, as Olympique Lyon hammered them 31-7 in their Champions Cup match at Stade de Gerland on Friday night.

The Bulls weren’t even able to secure the solitary bonus point that would have secured them a place in the last 16 of the competition, and they will now have to rely on the results of the teams below them going their way in order to progress.

Olympique Lyon’s pack ran the Bulls backwards in the scrums and mauls, in a humiliating dismantling of their pack. And they had plenty of opportunity to scrum and maul because the Bulls made an abundance of basics errors and gave away numerous penalties. It is difficult to recall the Bulls ever hanging on to the ball for more than half-a-dozen phases before the last 10 minutes, by which time the first-choice stars on the bench had all come on, the inexperienced stand-in coaching staff belatedly reacting to the crisis.

Clearly, the Bulls also did not have the mental strength to cope with the travel demands and the foreign conditions, snow falling in the second half, because they were also passive in defence and did not commit enough to the breakdowns.

Concrete solidity

Olympique Leon led 24-0 at halftime, thanks to the concrete solidity of their pack, which allowed hooker Guillaume Marchand to twice score from rolling mauls, and powerfully-built scrumhalf Jean-Marc Doussain also scored by breaking from a dominant scrum and forcing his way through the flatfooted defence of flyhalf Johan Goosen.

Read more: Bulls have to ‘step it up’, says coach, ahead of Exeter clash

The Bulls did strike first in the second half, albeit against the run of play as wing Kurt-Lee Arendse intercepted inside his own 22 and ran all the way to score.

But the result was set in stone in the 57th minute, after another flood of stupid mistakes by the Bulls, as flyhalf Leo Berdeu took advantage of a massive hole in the defensive line to roar over for the bonus point try, keeping Olympique Lyon’s hopes of qualifying for the last 16 alive.

Scorers

Olympique Lyon: Tries – Guillaume Marchand (2), Jean-Marc Doussain, Leo Berdeu. Conversions – Berdeu (4). Penalty – Berdeu.

Bulls: Try – Kurt-Lee Arendse. Conversion – Johan Goosen.

Read more: Bulls’ win against Exeter Chiefs ‘an unbelievable performance,’ says coach



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