'Old man' Steyn settles nerves again as iffy Bulls manage to hold off enterprising Edinburgh

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Hat-trick hero Darcy Graham had the Bulls under pressure. (Photo by Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images)
Hat-trick hero Darcy Graham had the Bulls under pressure. (Photo by Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images)

Thank you, Morne Steyn.

That was the Bulls' grateful message to their evergreen 38-year-old veteran flyhalf as his pressure penalty in the 77th minute granted his side an admittedly fortunate 33-31 URC victory over Edinburgh at Loftus on Saturday afternoon.

Typical of a seesawing affair where the hosts were never really able to summon the type of game-management that would've kept their wily opponents thoroughly at bay, there was still time for flutters of anxiety as the Scots could've snatched the result when Stravino Jacobs was, perhaps harshly, penalised for a robust, chest-high tackle on centre Mark Bennett.

But Edinburgh fullback Henry Immelman, a former Grey College talisman, was wide with his long range attempt. 

Steyn's crucial contribution was significant too because it perfectly summed up what the Bulls had fundamentally lacked at various stages in this game. 

Indeed, it's a strange thing to say for a team that reached the final of the inaugural URC campaign, but they were starkly reminded again that they might still have a way to go to consistently put away international-class opposition.

However, it would be harsh to focus too much on their inaccuracy as the scoreboard clearly showed that the Bulls had done enough, especially in light of the Scots boasting 15 full internationals.

Most prominently, the men from Pretoria's attacking game is developing a pleasing mix of variety and ruthlessness to it.

The first half tries for hooker Johan Grobbelaar and a rampaging Elrigh Louw, who revelled in his No 8 role after being released by the Springboks, were immensely skilful.

Grobbelaar rounded off after a superb switch pop pass from Marcell Coetzee caught the Edinburgh defence off-guard, while Louw was smart to peel off from the blindside early during another solid maul.

After the turnaround, tries for the wing duo of Cornal Hendricks and Stravino Jacobs were testament to the Bulls' ability to recycle possession effectively and conjure up swift passing movements.

Yet they will be required to take a look at their game management and concentration, which were the main factors in keeping an enterprising and slick Edinburgh in the game.

The Bulls notably let a Bennett penalty that struck the post go free, allowing hat-trick hero Darcy Graham to be rewarded for a brilliant follow-up that delivered five points instead of three.

A botched kick-off receipt led to winger Graham's third and final score in the right corner after an outrageous reverse pass from No 8 Viliame Mata, while Damien Hoyland benefited from Coetzee going off-side at a defensive maul.

Those were all instances where some better Bulls management would've ensured a less stressful afternoon.

It was in stark contrast to the Stormers' serene 33-13 win over Connacht in Stellenbosch, but a win is a win.   

Point scorers:

Bulls 33- (15)

Tries: Johan Grobbelaar, Elrigh Louw, Cornal Hendricks, Stravino Jacobs

Conversions: Chris Smith (2)

Penalties: Smith (2), Morne Steyn 

Edinburgh 31  - (14)

Tries: Darcy Graham (3), Charlie Savala, Damien Hoyland

Conversions: Mark Bennett (3)

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