Bulls revive hopes

2015-03-01 06:00

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43(23) Bulls - 35(16) Sharks

The Bulls produced a backs-to-the-wall performance to beat the Sharks at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday night to keep alive their challenge in the 2015 Vodacom Super Rugby competition.

After two home defeats the Bulls were desperate for a victory – and not only managed to get the win but also the bonus point for four tries as Jan Serfontein wrestled his way over the line for his side’s fourth try after the final whistle had sounded.

In a match pitting Springbok fly half contenders against each other, Handré Pollard (Bulls) and Patrick Lambie (Sharks) emerged with honours even.

Both emerged with 100% goal-kicking stats (Lambie contributing 25 points and Pollard 18 points to their teams’ totals) but in the end it fell to debutante Tian Schoeman, who had surprisingly replaced Pollard in the 72nd minute to kick the two crucial place-kicks that made all the difference.

.?On Friday night in Bloemfontein a decision by Australian referee Rohan Hoffmann that went against recent norms handed the Cheetahs a 25-24 victory over the Blues.

Protecting a two-point lead with time running out, the Blues elected to stand off a line-out to blunt a driving maul by the home side.

But instead of breaking up the thrust, as they had against the Stormers the week before, the Blues were penalised and Joe Petersen stepped up to slot the penalty that gave his side victory.

This gave the underrated Cheetahs their second win in the 2015 tournament and provided Naka Drotske’s men with an unpredicted stepping stone to more success in a season in which they have been labelled as one of the underdogs.

.?In the New Zealand conference, a tough tussle was in store as both the Hurricanes and the Chiefs emerged with three successive victories from the first three rounds.

The Chiefs laid down a massive marker by smashing the Crusaders 40-16 in Hamilton, but the Hurricanes had even more to feel buoyed about, having negotiated their tough programme of three away games at the start, in South Africa and Australia, with three victories.

In Melbourne, the Brumbies confirmed early impressions that they might be strong contenders by beating the Rebels to go to the top of the Australian conference.

.?Other round three results: Highlanders 20-13 Reds; Force 13-42 Hurricanes; Chiefs 40-16 Crusaders; Rebels 15-20 Brumbies.

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