Planet Rugby

Highlanders conquer fortress Loftus

05th March 2011 16:01

Share:

Highlander s NZN flanker Adam Thomson

Adam Thomson: Star of the Highlanders' 2011 season so far

The Highlanders ended the Bulls' 20-game winning streak at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday with a shock 35-28 bonus-point win over the defending Super Rugby champions.

Wing Kade Poki scored two tries and flank Adam Thomson continued his phenomenal start to the season with a try of his own as the visitors led from start to finish to make it three wins from three starts this year.

The Bulls flattered to deceive in their opening two games this season and were found horribly wanting, especially on defence, as the Highlanders ran their hosts ragged.

The visitors played smart rugby, moving the ball around at pace and keeping it far away from the Bulls' formidable tight five.

The Highlanders now top the New Zealand conference and share the overall tournament lead with the Sharks.

The surprise package of the early season, the Highlanders continue to impress with their all-action expansive style, while the Bulls were a pale shadow of the team that dominated the Super 14 last year.

Big names are letting the Bulls down: Put your hand up Wynand Olivier, Pierre Spies et al. Missed tackles, dropped passes, jugging to breakdowns....this is not the way to defend the title.

The visitors took an early lead when Thomson scored in the corner after just five minutes.

The Bulls struggled to find their rhythm as Morne Steyn and visiting fly-half Robbie Robinson traded penalties to leave the Highlanders 11-6 up at half-time.

The visitors extended their lead through a Josh Bekhuis try shortly after the restart with 36-year-old Tony Brown (on for Robinson) adding the extras.

Poki's first try, scored under the post after a scything run through midfield off an inside ball from Brown, took the lead to 25-6.

The Bulls pulled two tries back through Flip van der Merwe and Fourie du Preez after some trademark phase play but Poki's second try in the corner left the hosts fourteen points down with nine minutes left.

Bjorn Basson scored in the dying minutes to set up a grandstand finish as the Bulls pushed for a draw, but it was not to be.

The Bulls will have some introspection to do during their bye week while the Highlanders travel to Cape Town to take on the Stormers.

The scorers:

For Bulls:
Tries: Van der Merwe, Du Preez, Basson
Cons: Steyn 2
Pens: Steyn 3

For Highlanders:
Tries: Thomson, Bekhuis, Poki 2
Cons: Brown 3
Pens: Robinson 2, Brown

Yellow cards: Stegmann (Bulls - 40th min - foul play); Soakai (Highlnaders - 73rd min - hands in the ruck)

The teams:

Bulls: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 Jaco Pretoruis, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Dewald Potgieter, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Victor Matfield (c), 4 Danie Rossouw, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Gurthro Steenkamp.
Replacements: 16 Derick Kuun, 17 Rossouw de Klerk, 18 Flip van der Merwe, 19 Juandre Kruger, 20 Ruan Snyman, 21 Francois Brummer, 22 Stephan Dippenaar.

Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Siale Piutau, 13 Kendrick Lynn, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Kade Poki, 10 Robbie Robinson, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Nasi Manu, 7 Alndo Soakai, 6 Adam Thomson, 5 Josh Bekhuis, 4 Jarrod Hoeata, 3 Chris King, 2 Jason Rutledge, 1 Jamie Mackintosh (c)
Replacements: 16 Brayden Mitchell, 17 Bronson Murray, 18 Tom Donnelly, 19 John Hardie, 20 Aaron Smith, 21 Tony Brown, 22 Telusa Veainu.

Referee: Stuart Dickinson (Australia)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 23
New Zealand vs AustraliaNew Zealand vs Australia Preview
Argentina vs South AfricaArgentina vs South Africa Preview
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , August 23
Brive vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
Toulon vs La Rochelle18:30
Montpellier vs GrenobleMontpellier vs Grenoble Preview
Bordeaux-Begles vs Racing Metro Paris18:30
Bayonne vs Oyonnax18:30
Stade Francais vs Lyon20:45
Friday , August 29
Clermont Auvergne vs Montpellier20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Saturday , August 23
Blue Bulls vs Eastern Province Kings15:00
Western Province vs Lions17:05
Sharks vs Cheetahs19:10
Friday , August 29
Pumas vs Sharks19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Sunday , August 24
Manawatu vs AucklandManawatu vs Auckland Preview
Bay Of Plenty vs TasmanBay Of Plenty vs Tasman Preview
Wednesday, August 27
Waikato vs Taranaki19:35
Thursday , August 28
Canterbury vs Northland19:35
Friday , August 29
Wellington vs Manawatu09:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Saturday , August 23
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
Castres 22 - 25 Stade Francais
Toulouse 20 - 19 Oyonnax
Brive 37 - 15 La Rochelle
Montpellier 16 - 19 Racing Metro ParisMontpellier vs Racing Metro Paris Report
Bordeaux-Begles 18 - 9 Lyon
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Lions 60 - 19 Eastern Province KingsLions vs Eastern Province Kings Report
Western Province 41 - 17 Blue BullsWestern Province vs Blue Bulls Report
Cheetahs 34 - 27 GriquasCheetahs vs Griquas Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Otago 28 - 14 North Harbour
Wellington 25 - 37 WaikatoWellington vs Waikato Report
Canterbury 48 - 9 AucklandCanterbury vs Auckland Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Friday , August 15
Bayonne 15 - 29 ToulonBayonne vs Toulon Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Sharks 34 - 17 PumasSharks vs Pumas Report
More Currie Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00