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Historic win for Bulls

10th March 2013 07:52

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Bulls: Halt Blues' winning run

The Bulls got their overseas tour off to the perfect start after beating the Blues 28-21 in Auckland on Sunday.

It was the first ever victory for the South African side at Eden Park, where the visitors outscored their previously unbeaten hosts three tries to two.

Tries from flanker Arno Botha as well as wingers Lionel Mapoe and Akona Ndungane combined with 13 points from Morne Steyn's boot moved the Bulls to the top of the South African conference.

Blues coach John Kirwan named a much-changed side, including six new caps, for the match after his team had unexpectedly won its first two matches. The tactic failed and the Blues were outplayed by the Bulls who played a fast-paced style in warm, dry conditions.

The Blues briefly snatched the lead in the second half, before Botha's try put his team back in front.

Rene Ranger gave the Blues a glimmer of hope when he powered over to close the gap to one point with four minutes remaining. But the Bulls rallied to win with a Steyn penalty on full-time sealing the deal.

"It was a great team effort, it's not easy to come here and win," said Bulls skipper Pierre Spies.

"In the second half we felt we just had to be clinical and that's what it was, a clinical performance."

The Blues took the early lead with a penalty by fly-half Baden Kerr, but Steyn soon levelled matters with a penalty of his own.

Kerr then hooked a penalty attempt before slotting another soon after to give his side the lead for the second time, but the next quarter belonged to the Bulls.

First Mapoe rounded off a great movement by his inside backs and when the Blues dropped another tactical bomb soon after, Ndungane stepped inside his man to round off a very convincing half for the Bulls - playing in their alternate pink strip.

The Blues came out firing in the second half and raced back into the lead following a penalty by Kerr and a converted try by Charles Piutua.

The Bulls responded magnificently and after some impressive play by their pack, Botha exploited some space to score his first of the year.

Steyn, who fluffed his lines twice in the first half, kicked the conversion and another penalty to ease the Bulls back into a defendable lead.

Ranger's late try had the Blues within four with as many minutes to play, but Steyn kicked another penalty on the buzzer to have his team's hands in the air and that of the Blues on their knees.

The scorers:

For Blues:
Tries: Piutau, Ranger
Con: Kerr
Pens: Kerr 3

For Bulls:
Tries: Mapoe, Ndungane, Botha
Cons: Steyn 2
Pens: Steyn 3

Blues: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Rene Ranger, 12 Francis Saili, 11 Waisake Naholo, 10 Baden Kerr, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Steven Luatua, 7 Luke Braid, 6 Kane Barrett, 5 Ali Williams, 4 Liaki Moli, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Quentin MacDonald, 1 Tim Perry.
Replacements: 16 James Parsons, 17 Angus Ta'avao, 18 Ronald Raaymakers, 19 Brendon O'Connor, 20 Jamison Gibson-Park, 21 Marty McKenzie, 22 Albert Nikoro.

Bulls: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Lionel Mapoe, 10 Mornè Steyn, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Pierre Spies (c), 7 Arno Botha, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Juandrè Kruger, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Frik Kirsten, 2 Willie Wepener, 1 Mornè Mellett.
Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Werner Kruger, 18 Grant Hattingh, 19 Jacques Potgieter, 20 Francois Hougaard, 21 Louis Fouché, 22 Jürgen Visser.

Referee: Garratt Williamson (New Zealand)

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