Bulls grind past Sunwolves

Date published: March 26 2016

The Bulls breathed a huge sigh of relief after holding on for a hard-fought 30-27 victory over the Sunwolves in Singapore on Saturday.

As expected the visitors kept play mostly amongst the forwards and both sides crossed for three tries, with two of the Bulls' five-pointers coming from lineout drives inside their opponents' 22.

The Bulls dominated the territorial and possession stakes and although the Sunwolves were competitive throughout, a combination of unforced errors and poor defending led to their downfall.

They didn't leave Singapore empty-handed though, as a late Yuki Yatomi try secured them a deserved bonus point for losing by less than seven points.

But just like their previous matches, the tournament newbies faded badly as the match progressed – especially in the second half – and they are still winless after playing four matches.

The victory is only the Bulls' second of the season and the result means they are second in the Africa 1 Conference standings, with 10 points from four matches, while the Sunwolves are still languishing at the bottom in the same group with two points.

The Sunwolves made a terrific start and opened the scoring as early as the second minute. This after Burger Odendaal failed to gather the ball deep inside his 22 and Riaan Viljoen gathered before offloading to the on-rushing Andrew Durutalo who barged over from close quarters.

Tian Schoeman then added a penalty for the Bulls shortly afterwards before Tusi Pisi added a three-pointer from the kicking tee to restore his side's seven-point lead.

Schoeman slotted another penalty, after Hitoshi Ono was punished for an indiscretion at a ruck, but the Sunwolves then suffered a setback midway into the half when Tomás Leonardi was sent to the sin-bin for playing the ball on the ground close to his try line.

Schoeman made him pay for his indiscretion by slotting the resulting penalty and the visitors soon took the lead, in trademark fashion, when Adriaan Strauss barged over from a lineout drive in side the Sunwolves' 22.

Schoeman converted, which meant the Bulls led 16-10 at half-time and seven minutes after the restart it was more of the same when Roelof Smit barged over after another maul at the set-piece.

Pisi replied with another penalty in the 51st minute before Akihito Yamada crossed for the home side's second try, after Pisi put him space with a well-timed pass in the build-up.

With the score now at 23-20 to the Bulls, after Pisi's conversion, the visitors needed another try to seal victory.

Jamba Ulengo provided the crucial score after dotting down against the base of an upright in the 65th minute and the Sunwolves were dealt another blow when Ed Quirk was yellow carded for a professional foul shortly afterwards.

The Bulls had the game in the bag, but the Sunwolves didn't surrender and were rewarded when Yatomi dotted down shortly before full-time from a well-worked move as he burst through the gap in the middle of the lineout.

The scorers:

For Sunwolves:
Duratalo, Yamada, Yatomi
Cons: Pisi 3
Pens: Pisi 2
Yellow Cards: Leonardi, Quirk

For Bulls:
Strauss, Smit, Ulengo
Cons: Schoeman 3
Pens: Schoeman 3

Sunwolves: 15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Viliami Lolohea, 13 Harumichi Tatekawa , 12 Yu Tamura, 11 Akihito Yamada, 10 Tusi Pisi, 9 Kaito Shigeno, 8 Tomas Leonardi, 7 Andrew Durutalo, 6 Yoshiya Hosoda, 5 Liaki Moli, 4 Hitoshi Ono, 3 Takuma Asahara, 2 Shota Horie (c), 1 Keith Inagaki
Replacements: 16 Futoshi Mori,17 Masataka Mikami, 18 Shinosuke Kakinaga, 19 Shinya Makabe, 20 Ed Quirk, 21  Yuki Yatomi, 22 Mifiposeti Paea, 23 Yasutaka Sasakura

Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Jamba Ulengo, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Arno Botha, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Roelof Smit, 5 RG Snyman, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Adriaan Strauss (c), 1 Lizo Gqoboka
Replacements: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Pierre Schoeman, 19 Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, 20 Nic de Jager, 21 Piet van Zyl, 22 Francois Brummer, 23 Jan Serfontein

Referee: William Houston 
Assistant Referees: Shuhei Kubo, Aki Aso
TMO: Takashi Hareda