Bulls the lone warriors

2010-03-01 00:00

IT was a thoroughly miserable weekend for the South African teams in the Super 14 until a remarkable second-half flourish brought the champion Bulls a 48-38 win over the feisty Waratahs at Loftus on Saturday night.

The disappointing Sharks were beaten 35-6 by the fast-finishing Crusaders and the much trumpeted Stormers lost 19-17 to the Brumbies on Friday, while the Cheetahs and the Lions went down on Saturday.

There were moments when it seemed there would be a clean sweep of defeats when the Bulls, caught cold by a ferocious Waratahs start at Loftus, trailed 17-0 after just 10 minutes. But the Super 14 champions played like champions in the second half to gain their third full hand of points to stay top of the log.

The Bulls (15) are one point ahead of the unbeaten Chiefs — who completed an excellent tour with a bonus point win (37-19) over the Force in Perth — and the Hurricanes, 33-18 victors over the spirited but defensively-fragile Lions in Wellington.

The subdued Cheetahs, hoping to repeat their King’s Park heroics of the previous weekend when they beat the Sharks, were subdued in going down 31-24 to the Highlanders in Bloemfontein.

It was another untidy game as referee Pro Legoete battled to solve the numerous scrummaging problems and the television match official Shaun Veldsman was left to make a series of desperately tight calls. Two went in favour of the Cheetahs for their two tries, while another testing decision on the final hooter went against the Highlanders and cost them a bonus point.

The Blues gained a strong 27-18 win over the Reds in Brisbane to complete a highly successful weekend of five wins out of five for New Zealand teams.

The Bulls, who were 17 points down before they had wiped the sleep from their eyes, and the Waratahs produced the match of the weekend, a fast-moving and intense contest.

The Bulls, with halfbacks Fourie du Preez and Morne Steyn pulling the strings, remained composed in the face of the early mugging and then hit back with two tries from Francois Hougaard and one each from Stephan Dippenaar, Gerhard van den Heever, Wynand Olivier and Jacques-Louis Potgieter for the win.

Steyn produced a flawless kicking display with six conversions and two penalties and would have scored far more had captain Victor Matfield not opted for a number of attacking lineouts rather than kicking at goal.

“The way it was going we thought tries rather than penalties would decide this match and that’s how it worked out,” he explained.

“We knew it was going to be tough. The Waratahs are a very good team, but the guys kept their heads, kept going and we came through in the end.”

The Sharks have meanwhile travelled back across the Tasman Sea and are now based at Manly near Sydney where they face the Waratahs on Saturday. The Waratahs’ form at Loftus, their organisation and their strong attack at Loftus will have added to the general gloom in the Sharks’ camp.


RESULTS (home team first)


Crusaders 35 Sharks 6

Stormers 17 ACT Brumbies 19



Hurricanes 33 Lions 18

Hurricanes - Tries: Michael Paterson, Piri Weepu, Andrew Hore, David Smith; Conversions: Piri Weepu, Willie Ripia; Penalties: Ripia (3). Auto & General Lions - Tries: Derick Minnie, Todd Clever; Conversion: Earl Rose; Penalties: Rose (2).

Reds 18 Blues 27

Reds - Tries: Will Genia, Laurie Weeks; Conversion: Quade Cooper; Penalties: Cooper (2). Blues - Tries: Rene Ranger, Anthony Boric, Alby Mathewson, Rudi Wulf; Conversions: Stephen Brett, Lachie Munro; Penalty: Brett.

Force 19 Chiefs 37

Force - Try: Ryan Cross; Conversion: James O`Connor; Penalties: O`Connor (3), Brett Sheehan. Chiefs - Try: Hika Elliot, Lelia Masaga, Colin Bourke, Tim Nanai-Williams; Conversion: Stephen Donald (4); Penalties: Donald (3).

Cheetahs 24 Highlanders 31

Cheetahs: Tries: Heinrich Brüssow, Juan Smith; Conversion: Naas Olivier; Penalties: Olivier (4). Highlanders: Tries: Kenny Lynn, Fetu’u Vainikolo, Michael Hobbs; Conversions: Hobbs, Israel Dagg; Penalties: Dagg (4).

Bulls 48 Waratahs 38

Bulls - Tries: Francois Hougaard (2), Stephan Dippenaar, Gerhard van den Heever, Wynand Olivier, Jacques-Louis Potgieter; Conversions: Morne Steyn (6); Penalties: Steyn (2). Waratahs - Tries: Tatafu Polota-Nau, Ben Mowen, Lachlan Turner, Drew Mitchell; Conversions: Berrick Barnes (2), Kurtley Beale; Penalties: Barnes (3); Drop Goal: Barnes.



Friday: Chiefs v Reds, Hamilton, 8.35 am; Brumbies v Lions, Canberra, 10.40 am

Saturday: Crusaders v Blues Christchurch, 8.35 am; Waratahs v Sharks, Sydney, 10.40 am; Stormers v Highlanders, Cape Town, 505 pm; Cheetahs v Hurricanes, Bloemfontein, 7.10

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.