Bulls top log after round two

2010-02-22 00:00

WHILE the Sharks were again struggling for meagre returns, the champion Bulls — with a massive contribution from flyhalf Morné Steyn and a little help from referee Mark Lawrence — and the Stormers had productive weekends in the Super 14.

The Sharks, with a couple of bonus points to show from two limp home defeats, are making their way across the world to New Zealand for Friday’s tough game against the Crusaders.

The Bulls, who are top of the log, and the fourth-placed Stormers, meanwhile, were satisfied after downing highly-rated Australian opponents.

The Bulls, after an even first half, finished strongly to beat the Brumbies 50-32 as Springbok flyhalf Steyn scored 35 points, including two tries.

Lawrence played his part and the Brumbies will quibble about at least two of the five tries scored by the Bulls. First he blocked a Brumbies defender as Fourie du Preez darted through the gap to score and then there was a strong suggestion that Bulls centre Wynand Olivier knocked on as he crossed. Still, by the final quarter, the Brumbies were a well-beaten team.

Some of the gloss was knocked from the polished Bulls win when captain and lock Victor Matfield was yesterday cited for two incidents, the first for punching Brumbies flank Rocky Elsom in the 16th minute of the match and the second for charging into a ruck without binding on to another player. His hearing will take place at Loftus at noon today.

The Stormers were impressive in beating the Waratahs 27-6 at Newlands on Saturday, a victory built on a strong defensive effort and two typical Bryn Habana tries, the first from a charge down and then a second following a sniping blindside break.

The Stormers again failed to score the four tries needed for a bonus point, but they also denied the Waratahs a try.

The Stormers were hurt by the early hamstring injury to Schalk Burger, but the form of feisty scrumhalf Ricky Januarie was an unexpected boost.

The shock of the weekend was the Crusaders’ 41-20 loss in Brisbane to the Reds and this is certain to wind up the New Zealand team for their home game against the Sharks on Friday.

New Zealand’s Hurricanes and last season’s finalists, Chiefs, were in joint second spot. The Hurricanes flourished in the second half for a 47-22 home victory over Australia’s Western Force.

But the most remarkable game of the weekend was at Ellis Park where the Chiefs took on the Lions in a game of touch rugby and won by an astonishing 72-65.

Surprisingly, there was enough physical contact in the game for two players to be suspended. Chiefs No. 8 and captain Sione Lauaki was later banned for two weeks for a spear tackle on centre Deon van Rensburg after 13 minutes while Lions lock Willem Stoltz was suspended for one week for striking Chiefs hooker Aled de Malmanche in the face with his elbow in the ninth minute.

The players appeared before the Sanzar judicial officer Jannie Lubbe on Saturday and pleaded guilty.


Saturday’s scores and scorers

Hurricanes 47 Western Force 22

Hurricanes – Tries: Cory Jane, David Smith (2), Michael Paterson, Ma`a Nonu, Tyson Keats, Neemia Tialata; Conversions: Willie Ripia, Piri Weepu, Aaron Cruden; Penalties: Ripia (2). Western Force – Try: Josh Tatupu, Dane Haylett-Petty, Chris O`Young; Conversions: James O’Connor (2); Penalty: O`Connor.


Bulls 50 Brumbies 32

Bulls – Tries: Wynand Olivier, Fourie du Preez, Gerhard van den Heever, Morné Steyn (2); Conversions: Steyn (5); Penalties: Steyn (5). Brumbies – Tries: Rocky Elsom, George Smith, Pat McCabe; Conversion: Stirling Mortlock; Penalties: Mortlock (4).


Stormers 27 Waratahs 6

Stormers – Tries: Francois Louw, Bryan Habana (2); Conversions: Joe Pietersen (3); Penalties: Pietersen (2).

Waratahs – Penalties: Berrick Barnes (2).


Friday’s results

Highlanders 15 Blues 19

Reds 41 Crusaders 20

Sharks 20 Cheetahs 25

Lions 65 Chiefs 72


Weekend’s fixtures (home team first, SA times)

Friday: Crusaders v Sharks, 8.35 am; Stormers v Brumbies, 7.10 pm

Saturday: Hurricanes v Lions, 8.35 am; Reds v Blues, 10.40 am; Force v Chiefs, 1.05 pm; Cheetahs v Highlanders, 5.05 pm; Bulls v Waratahs, 7.10 pm

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