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
International Match
Saturday , November 1
Barbarians vs Australia14:30
USA vs New Zealand15:00
More International Match fixtures
LV= Cup
Saturday , November 1
Sale Sharks vs Wasps14:00
Exeter vs Gloucester15:00
Bath vs London Welsh15:00
London Irish vs Leicester15:00
Northampton vs Newcastle16:00
Sunday , November 2
Saracens vs Harlequins13:00
More LV= Cup fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , October 31
Leinster vs EdinburghLeinster vs Edinburgh Preview
Glasgow vs Benetton TrevisoGlasgow vs Benetton Treviso Preview
Ospreys vs ConnachtOspreys vs Connacht Preview
Saturday , November 1
Cardiff Blues vs Munster17:15
Scarlets vs Zebre18:00
Ulster vs Newport Gwent D'gons19:35
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , November 1
Lyon vs Toulouse13:45
Racing Metro Paris vs Oyonnax18:30
Stade Francais vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
La Rochelle vs Montpellier18:30
Brive vs Castres18:30
Bayonne vs Clermont Auvergne20:45
Sunday , November 2
Toulon vs Grenoble13:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 26
Castres 16 - 21 LeinsterCastres vs Leinster Report
Clermont Auvergne 35 - 3 Sale SharksClermont Auvergne vs Sale Sharks Report
Benetton Treviso 10 - 26 Racing Metro 92
Wasps 16 - 23 HarlequinsWasps vs Harlequins Report
Saturday , October 25
Ulster 13 - 23 ToulonUlster vs Toulon Report
Bath 19 - 21 ToulouseBath vs Toulouse Report
Montpellier 13 - 15 GlasgowMontpellier vs Glasgow Report
Northampton 34 - 6 OspreysNorthampton vs Ospreys Report
Scarlets 15 - 3 LeicesterScarlets vs Leicester Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Rovigo 18 - 33 Cardiff Blues
Exeter 33 - 13 Connacht
Bucuresti 9 - 13 Stade Francais
Oyonnax 15 - 25 Gloucester
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Currie Cup
Western Province 19 - 16 LionsWestern Province vs Lions Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Taranaki 36 - 32 TasmanTaranaki vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 24
Munster 14 - 3 SaracensMunster vs Saracens Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Grenoble 15 - 25 London Irish
Edinburgh 25 - 17 LOU Rugby
Newport Gwent D'gons 26 - 30 Newcastle
Brive 21 - 26 Zebre
La Rochelle 25 - 13 Bayonne
Thursday , October 23
London Welsh 20 - 52 Bordeaux-BeglesLondon Welsh vs Bordeaux-Begles Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 19
Ospreys 42 - 7 Benetton TrevisoOspreys vs Benetton Treviso Report
Toulouse 30 - 23 MontpellierToulouse vs Montpellier Report
Leinster 25 - 20 WaspsLeinster vs Wasps Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton625
2Saracens622
3Exeter620
4Bath620
5Wasps615