Planet Rugby

Eight-try Bulls demolish Chiefs

30th May 2009 16:04

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Bryan Habana celebrates Final score

Fine effort: Bryan Habana

A mesmeric Bulls outfit smashed the previous Super Rugby Final winning margin en route to lifting the 2009 title in an eight-try 61-17 drubbing of the Chiefs at Loftus Versfeld.

One-sided it certainly was as the heavy Springbok contingent sent out a message to the British & Irish Lions, with a frightening performance that further opened the tourists' Rustenburg wounds.

Pre-match wishes of good luck from Bull-shirted President Jacob Zuma accompanied the much talked about altitude advantage - leading many to back them to the hilt on Saturday.

But despite the pressure of appearing in only their first Super Rugby final in such a hostile venue as Loftus, the Chiefs demonstrated their own talent before falling away to a first-half master class led by scrum-half Fourie du Preez.

Test series hopeful Zane Kirchner also played a starring role in Pretoria, with two early touch-finders either side of a break down the right seeing his own name stamped all over the final. His competitors for the Bok jersey seem to have fallen by the wayside while the race for number ten follows a similar trait...and how.

Morné Steyn was again a real pleasure to watch on the night and enjoyed another strong kicking performance from both tee and hand. Add to that the fact he's playing alongside international shoo-in Du Preez and his June 1 case must be furthered.

The Chiefs did start extremely sprightly, however, when a rare poor kick from Kirchner gifted the Kiwi back three space in which to manoeuvre. And it was the in-form Lelia Masaga who scorched away for the opener on just seven minutes.

However, that proved something of a flash in the pan as what followed in the next ten minutes was worth the entry fee alone. First, the irrepressible Du Preez finished off his full-back's break by tapping and barging over. And when he raced over for his second after Wynand Olivier felled Aled de Malmanche, something special was brewing.

That back on forward tackle ultimately proved the Bulls' statement that any physicality brought by the Welsh/New Zealand player would not be welcomed in Pretoria - the in-form hooker duly left the field clutching his shoulder.

But the home side were not finished as, in the midst of their action-packed onslaught, Du Preez slid one through for Bryan Habana. Steyn's excellent conversion then drop-goal must have sent shock waves through an already sore Lions camp, never mind the Chiefs.

The pivot's metronomic boot and no-frills style of rugby continues to impress on the biggest stage and with an advantage of 24-7, one feared for the out-of-sorts Kiwis.

They had to try their hand, which ultimately caught them with their trousers down when winger Habana sniffed an intercept right on half-time - extending the lead by another seven points. No way back for Mils Muliaina's side?

Well their gracious captain, whose reaction to defeat was admirable, did steady the sinking ship just six minutes into the second period with a classy score. But much like the Loftus final's opening, the visitors' effort proved another false hope.

Cue the Bulls to continue on their profitable path as four more clinical tries followed, starting with Victor Matfield reaching over some tired breakdown defence wide out.

Another player hunting a starting Springbok jersey is centre Olivier and his archetypal drifting score through a mini-opening put the Bulls nearer to a remarkable 50.

Pierre Spies is one man who can rest easy this coming Monday though, as the number eight followed up last week's foot race with another long-range try before replacement forward Danie Rossouw capped the victory. It was party time in Pretoria.

Man of the match: I won't bore you with the cliché that 'it could have been awarded to anyone from one to fifteen'. Yes, a plethora of individual performances all led to the team's success but the ten-minute spell in response to Lelia Masaga's score was largely down to Fourie du Preez. An excellent brace of tries set the tone and the Bulls never looked back in reclaiming the trophy they won in 2007!

The scorers:

For Bulls:

Tries: Du Preez 2, Habana 2, Matfield, Olivier, Spies, Rossouw

Con: Steyn 5, Francis

Pen: Steyn 2

Drop: Steyn

For Chiefs:

Tries: Masaga, Muliaina

Con: Donald 2

Pen: Donald

Bulls: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 Jaco Pretorius, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Fourie du Preez, 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 Heini Adams, 21 Burton Francis, 22 Marius Delport.

Chiefs: 15 Mils Muliaina (c), 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Richard Kahui, 12 Callum Bruce, 11 Dwayne Sweeney, 10 Stephen Donald, 9 Toby Morland, 8 Sione Lauaki, 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Kevin O'Neill, 4 Craig Clarke, 3 James McGougan, 2 Aled de Malmanche, 1 Sona Taumalolo.

Replacements: 16 Hika Elliot, 17 Joe Savage, 18 Toby Lynn, 19 Serge Lilo, 20 David Bason, 21 Mike Delany, 22 Sosene Anesi.

Referee: Jonathan Kaplan

Touch judges: Craig Joubert, Cobus Wessels

TMO: Johann Meuwesen

By Adam Kyriacou

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