The Bulls thrashed the Melbourne Rebels 47-10 in their Super Rugby encounter at Loftus Versveld in Pretoria on Saturday.
The Bulls thrashed the Melbourne Rebels 47-10 in their Super Rugby encounter in Pretoria at Loftus Versveld on Saturday evening.
Inside centre Wynand Olivier helped himself to a hat-trick, and full-back Zane Kirchner bagged a brace, as the prime beef outfit scored seven tries in their first game back off a bye, with the visitors getting their South African tour off to an atrocious start.
The Bulls got the ball rolling (over the try-line!) in the seventh minute when fly-half MornÃ© Steyn chipped a deft up-and-over the Rebels midfield for Olivier to run onto and outpaced the defenders to dot down under the posts for his first of the game.
Two minutes later, Kirchner dove over the whitewash after left winger Bjorn Basson got his pass away in the tackle having been brought down just short of the try-line himself at the end of an impressive swerving run.
The speedster, however, got his reward in the 27th minute as he blitzed off and scored under the sticks, though there was some confusion over whether lock Danie Rossouw's attempted pass to Kirchner – which ricocheted off a Rebels tackler and Basson seized on – was a knock-on.
Referee Chris Pollock consulted with his touch judges over the legitimacy of the score but, much to Rebels skipper Stirling Mortlock's derision, the officials all agreed the Bulls had indeed scored their third try.
The Bulls' four-try bonus point came in the 29th minute when they broke out from inside there own 22, Basson having outpaced the Rebels' outside backs along the touch-line and fed outside centre Stephan Dippenaar, who passed to the supporting Olivier for his second of the evening.
Not to be outdone, Kirchner got his second five-pointer in the 31st minute, crossing over in the far left corner courtesy of quick hands in the Bulls back-line deep in the Rebels half.
In the 37th minute, the Bulls outmuscled the visitors scrum five metres out from their try-line, forcing a tighthead. The ball then popped out for the ever-aware scrum-half and stand-in captain Fourie du Preez, who pounced on the pill and stretched over for his team's sixth try inside the first 45 minutes.
The Rebels managed to finally hit-back with a try of their own just inside the start of the second stanza when their best performer, full-back Richard Kingi, neatly offloaded to replacement winger Cooper Vuna, who chipped ahead and beat out the Bulls chasers to get a forceful arm over the ball in the end zone.
But there was no miraculous comeback for Rod Macqueen's side when in the 59th minute Steyn slipped an inside pass to the on-rushing Olivier, who flew under the uprights to complete his hat-trick after sustained Bulls pressure on their opponents try-line.
In the end, it was an overwhelming victory for Frans Ludeke's charges, with the score-line also having allowed the Bulls coach to substitute many of his key players, as well as leave regular skipper Victor Matfield on the bench under the blankets.
Tries: Olivier 3, Kirchner 2, Basson, Du Preez
Cons: Steyn 6
Bulls: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 Stephan Dippenaar, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 MornÃ© Steyn, 9 Fourie du Preez (c), 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Dewald Potgieter, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Danie Rossouw, 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Gary Botha, 1 Dean Greyling
Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Rossouw de Klerk, 18 Flip van der Merwe, 19 Victor Matfield, 20 Derick KuÃ¼n, 21 Francois Hougaard, 22 Francois Brummer
Rebels: 15 Richard Kingi, 14 Lachlan Mitchell, 13 Afusipa Taumoepeau, 12 Stirling Mortlock (capt), 11 Luke Rooney, 10 Julian Huxley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Gareth Delve, 7 Michael Lipman, 6 Hoani Macdonald, 5 Alastair Campbell, 4 Hugh Pyle, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 Ged Robinson, 1 Greg Somerville
Replacements: Heath Tessmann, 17 Nic Henderson, 18 Kevin O'Neill, 19 Jarrod Saffy, 20 Tim Davidson, 21 Peter Betham, 22 Cooper Vuna
Referee: Chris Pollock (New Zealand)
By Devin Hermanus