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Smith lands late drop-goal to send the Bulls into the URC semi-finals

Jake White’s side will meet Leinster next weekend.

Chris Smith celebrates his drop goal.
Chris Smith celebrates his drop goal.
Image: Christiaan Kotze/INPHO

CHRIS SMITH LANDED the winning drop goal for the Bulls in the dying seconds of this URC quarter-final to send Jake White’s side into the semi-finals of the competition at the expense of Noel McNamara’s Sharks.

Given how they started their season, with heavy defeats to Leinster and Connacht in the opening weeks, the Bulls’ recovery has been dramatic. So, too, was the finish to this game. Smith, scorer of 15 points, was key to their victory but chance played a part, too.

It was 27-27 on 79 minutes, 13-13 at the break, the Bulls going ahead early on when Madosh Tambwe touched down after Canan Moodie launched an audacious counter-attack from inside his own 22.

Back came the Sharks, Bongi Mbonambi scoring his seventh try of the season. Prior to half-time Smith had landed three kicks – two penalties and a conversion – to put them 13-10 ahead before Bosch levelled up the scores.

chris-smith-kicks-the-winning-drop-goal Smith strikes the decisive kick. Source: Christiaan Kotze/INPHO

It looked like the Bulls would run away with it – Marcell Coetzee forcing his way across the line shortly after half-time, the former Ulster player turning creator shortly afterwards to release Cornal Hendricks, who helped the Bulls establish a 14-point lead.

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That lead got cut when Jaden Hendrikse scored for Sharks after a smart break from the base of a ruck and when Sikhumbuzo Notshe scored in the left corner and Bosch landed a super conversion, the scores were level.

Extra-time loomed. Then Smith saw his opportunity to land a drop-goal as the Bulls’ managed the closing moments perfectly.

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