Planet Rugby

Bulls power past the Brumbies

20th February 2010 16:54

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Pedrie Wannenburg

Bulls surge: Super Rugby centurion Pedrie Wannenburg on the charge

The Bulls beat the Brumbies 50-32 to secure their second win on the trot in the Super 14 in Pretoria on Saturday and their twelfth successive home win at Loftus Versfeld in the tournament.

Perhaps a fair reflection of just how good this Bulls side is can be seen in the fact that they were well below their best for the first half, trailing 21-20 at the break, yet still managed to put 50 points and five tries on a very good side.

The Brumbies weren't taking any bull (pardon the pun) from their hosts and started the Loftus clash with a roar and a hiss - taking the ball up with intent and refusing to take a step back in the tackle.

The Australians 'in-your-face' game-plan caught the hosts a little by surprise who were forced to watch Brumbies points extraordinaire Stirling Mortlock nail a penalty as early as the first minute.

The Bulls very own scoring machine Morne Steyn missed his first shot at goal from 55m out, but was bang on target with his next kick to level the scores a few minutes later.

With the defending champions starting to find a bit of rhythm, the Brumbies stepped on their dancing shoes with a well worked try to Brumbies debutant Rocky Elsom who managed to power over in the corner. Mortlock was unsuccessful with the sideline conversion, but the Brumbies were in front and in charge.

Steyn managed to reduce the gap with another trademark three-pointer but not before the Brumbies pushed their lead over the Bulls even further following an unusual mistake from Fourie du Preez.

The Bulls number nine was ripped of possession by Elsom, and could only look in horror as George Smith carried the turnover ball for an opportunist try under the posts. Mortlock added the simple extras and the visitors from Down Under had every reason to be pleased with a handy 17-6 lead.

There was a fair bit of fortune in the Bulls' immediate response - Du Preez picking up the ball and running in at the line, with referee Mark Lawrence helping him out as he obstructed prop Ben Alexander's attempted tackle.

Steyn converted, but again the visitors came back strongly with Mortlock putting the ball over easily after the hosts conceded a penalty.

And there was no fortune about the home side's second try, which came after patient build-up play and Du Preez picking out Steyn to cut through close to the post.

The conversion was added and, just as the Bulls looked like they were going to head into the break in the lead, Mortlock sent over another three-pointer to hand his side a 21-20 lead.

Straight from the restart, a moment of brilliance from Matt Giteau extended the lead further - the Brumbies number ten sending over a drop-goal from more than 40 metres out.

Another penalty from Mortlock followed making it a seven-point game, but the Bulls then began their fightback.

First Steyn continued to show his accuracy with another penalty, followed by two tries - the first saw Gerhaard van den Heever make the most of a loose ball at the back of the line-out.

He controlled well and then eased his way over the line, followed by a bonus-point touchdown seconds later when centre Wynand Olivier found a gap in the Brumbies defence and charged through to score in the left corner.

Steyn converted on both occasions as the gap was suddenly ten points in the Bulls' favour, before adding another thirteen points to cap another vintage performance and seal the win.

The Brumbies will know they've been beaten by a superior side, but that will be scant consolation in defeat. They face an arduous trip to Cape Town next week, while the Bulls brace for another testing encounter against the Waratahs.

Man of the match: This was a wonderful effort from the collective, but it would be unfair not to highlight another majestic performance from Morne Steyn, who was responsible for 35 of his side's points, including two tries.

The scorers:

For Bulls:
Tries: Du Preez, Steyn 2, Van den Heever, Olivier
Cons: Steyn 5
Pens: Steyn 5

For Brumbies:
Tries: Elsom, Smith, McCabe
Cons: Mortlock 2
Pens: Mortlock 4
Drop goal Giteau

Bulls: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 Stephan Dippenaar, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Francois Hougaard, 10 MornÚ Steyn, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Pedrie Wannenburg, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Victor Matfield (c), 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Gary Botha, 1 Gurthr÷ Steenkamp.
Replacements: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Bees Roux, 18 Fudge Mabeta, 19 Derick KuŘn, 20 Heini Adams, 21 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 22 John Mametsa.

Brumbies: 15 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 14 Pat McCabe, 13 Stirling Mortlock, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 Francis Fainifo, 10 Matt Giteau, 9 Josh Valentine, 8 Stephen Hoiles (c), 7 George Smith, 6 Rocky Elsom, 5 Mark Chisholm, 4 Justin Harrison, 3 Salesi Ma'afu, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Ben Alexander.
Replacements: 16 Huia Edmonds, 17 Guy Shepherdson, 18 Ben Hand, 19 Mitchell Chapman, 20 Patrick Phibbs, 21 Matt Toomua, 22 Tyrone Smith.

Referee: Mark Lawrence (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Marius Jonker (South Africa), Stefan Breytenbach (South Africa)
Television match official: Johann Meuwesen (South Africa)

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