Planet Rugby

Lady luck shines on Bulls

09th May 2009 16:07

Share:

wynand olivier

Coming through: The Bulls charge to the top of the Super 14 standings

In a titanic Super 14 battle between two die-hard South African outfits, the Bulls emerged winners and remain in finals contention following their 29-20 win over the Cheetahs in Pretoria on Saturday.

The Bulls dominated the key territory battle but failed to finish many opportunities. It was paramount to the home side winning as well as taking maximum points, but while the Bulls looked lacklustre they will be content with the victory.

The Cheetahs came close to upsetting the Bulls' semi-final party with some outstanding defence, but eventually collapsed in the dying stages of the second half.

Springbok winger Bryan Habana scored the crucial bonus-point try just seconds before the final whistle which put the Bulls at the top of the Super 14 standings going into the final round next weekend when the 2007 champions travel to Durban to face the Sharks.

The Bulls knew before the kick-off that a bonus point victory would take them to the top of the table following the Chiefs' 16-8 defeat of the Hurricanes earlier that day. They therefore tried to create a high number of try-scoring opportunities whenever they had the chance, and the match was an open, fast paced contest.

Cheetahs' scrum-half Tewis de Bruyn opened the visitors' account with a try following a quick-tap penalty in the fifth minute but seven minutes later Habana fielded a poor kick from the visitors and ran like a gazelle before putting Akona Ndungane away for the Bulls' first try.

The visitors wasted no time and within three minutes they regained the lead with former Springbok Hendro Scholtz storming through, after a quick Meyer Bosman throw-in caught the Bulls unaware.

Fly-half Naas Olivier - who converted both tries - added a penalty in the 23rd minute to take the Cheetahs into a 15-7 lead but the tournamenr basement dwellers had to see the last ten minutes of the first half with fourteen men due to Scholtz's yellow card following a high tackle on Habana.

With Scholtz in the bin, the Bulls launched attack after attack in the visitors' 22, but the Cheetahs defended their try-line like Spartans and the upshot was that the Bulls could not score a single point with Scholtz on the sideline.

The Cheetahs conceded another yellow card within the last few seconds of the first half and with Wian du Preez the next to see yellow, Morné Steyn kicked his first penalty to take the Bulls into the half-time sheds with the score 15-10 in the visitors' favour.

With the Cheetahs swiftly extended their lead to 20-10 thanks to a breakaway try in the 47th minute by speedster Jongi Nokwe, but Chiliboy Ralepelle replied in adequate manner with the Bulls' second try in the 53rd minute to make the score 20-17.

The Cheetahs conceded their third yellow card in the 65th minute as a result of an illegal tackle by De Bruyn on Ndungane, but the World Cup-winning winger quickly recovered and moments later went over for the Bulls' third try to take the Bulls into a 22-20 lead.

With the Bulls leading for the first time in the match, they continued to hunt down the elusive fourth try. After some nerve-racking moments in the last ten minutes, Habana intercepted a pass from Meyer Bosman and dived over to clinch the match.

The Cheetahs played their hearts out - they defended as if their lives depended on it and gave it their all for 80 minutes but during the closing stages the Bulls' patience on attack paid off and the end product was a very impressive bonus-point victory.

For Bulls:

Tries: Ndungane 2, Ralepelle, Habana

Cons: Steyn 3

Pen: Steyn

For Cheetahs:

Tries: De Bruyn, Scholtz, Nokwe

Con: Olivier

Pen: Olivier

Yellow cards: Hendro Scholtz (Cheetahs, 29 - foul play, playing a player off the ball), Wian du Preez (Cheetahs, 40 - professional foul, killing the ball on the ground), Tewis de Bruyn (Cheetahs, 64 - foul play, spear tackle)

Bulls: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 Jaco Pretorius, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Heini Adams, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Dewald Potgieter, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Victor Matfield (c), 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Derick Kuün, 1 Gurthrö Steenkamp.

Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Rayno Gerber, 18 Danie Rossouw, 19 Pedrie Wannenburg, 20 Francois Hougaard, 21 Burton Francis, 22 JP Nel.

Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Danwel Demas, 13 Corné Uys, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 Jongi Nokwe, 10 Naas Olivier, 9 Tewis de Bruyn, 8 Hendro Scholtz, 7 Juan Smith (c), 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 David de Villiers, 4 Wayne van Heerden, 3 Kobus Calldo, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Wian du Preez.

Replacements: 16 Richardt Strauss, 17 WP Nel, 18 Nico Breedt, 19 Kabamba Floors, 20 Sarel Pretorius, 21 JW Jonker, 22 Fabian Juries.

Referee: Stuart Dickinson (Australia)

Touch judges: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa), Daniel Cheever (Australia)

TMO: Johann Meuwesen (South Africa)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Top 14
Friday , August 29
Clermont Auvergne vs Montpellier20:45
Saturday , August 30
La Rochelle vs Toulouse14:45
Lyon vs Brive18:30
Oyonnax vs Stade Francais18:30
Grenoble vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Castres vs Bay Of Plenty18:30
Racing Metro Paris vs Toulon20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , August 29
Pumas vs Sharks19:10
Saturday , August 30
Griquas vs Cheetahs15:00
Blue Bulls vs Western Province17:05
Eastern Province Kings vs Lions19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Wednesday, August 27
Waikato vs TaranakiWaikato vs Taranaki Preview
Thursday , August 28
Canterbury vs NorthlandCanterbury vs Northland Preview
Friday , August 29
Wellington vs Manawatu09:35
Saturday , August 30
Counties Manukau vs Hawkes Bay04:35
Southland vs Otago17:35
North Harbour vs Waikato09:35
Sunday , August 31
Taranaki vs Bay Of Plenty14:35
Auckland vs Tasman16:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Sunday , August 24
Manawatu 7 - 35 AucklandManawatu vs Auckland Report
Bay Of Plenty 27 - 56 TasmanBay Of Plenty vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 23
New Zealand 51 - 20 AustraliaNew Zealand vs Australia Report
Argentina 31 - 33 South AfricaArgentina vs South Africa Report
More Rugby Championship results
Top 14
Brive 6 - 21 Clermont AuvergneBrive vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Toulon 60 - 19 La Rochelle
Stade Francais 23 - 20 Lyon
Montpellier 20 - 17 GrenobleMontpellier vs Grenoble Report
Bayonne 38 - 12 Oyonnax
Bordeaux-Begles 30 - 21 Racing Metro Paris
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Blue Bulls 30 - 25 Eastern Province KingsBlue Bulls vs Eastern Province Kings Report
Western Province 27 - 14 LionsWestern Province vs Lions Report
Sharks 19 - 16 CheetahsSharks vs Cheetahs Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Northland 35 - 5 WellingtonNorthland vs Wellington Report
Counties Manukau 29 - 25 OtagoCounties Manukau vs Otago Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Friday , August 22
Toulouse 35 - 6 CastresToulouse vs Castres Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Pumas 33 - 15 GriquasPumas vs Griquas Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Waikato 27 - 58 CanterburyWaikato vs Canterbury Report
Hawkes Bay 29 - 26 TaranakiHawkes Bay vs Taranaki Report
Thursday , August 21
North Harbour 21 - 25 Southland
Sunday , August 17
Tasman 35 - 15 Hawkes BayTasman vs Hawkes Bay Report
Northland 23 - 28 Manawatu
More ITM Cup results
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 16
Australia 12 - 12 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
South Africa 13 - 6 ArgentinaSouth Africa vs Argentina Report
More Rugby Championship results
Top 14
Clermont Auvergne 30 - 26 GrenobleClermont Auvergne vs Grenoble Report
More Top 14 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00