Planet Rugby

Bulls open account with derby win

01st March 2014 16:00

Share:

bjorn basson chrysander botha bulls v lions super rugby 2014

Rising highest: Bjorn Basson

The Bulls eased past the Lions 25-17 despite poor weather to record their first Super Rugby victory of 2014 at Loftus Versfeld.

A try from centre Jan Serfontein and 20 points from the boot of fly-half Jacques-Louis Potgieter ensured the hosts an important win, and the eight-point margin meant their rivals - who outscored them two tries to one - headed back to Johannesburg with nothing to add to their tournament tally.

Perhaps a sign of the recent lack of success down Pretoria way, the Bulls ran out for their first home game of the season - and a derby match at that - to a glaringly sparse Loftus Versfeld.

The lashing rain certainly did not aid the attendance figure, nor did it bode well for running rugby, but both teams moved the ball well and carried powerfully in attack during the first-half. The contact area in particular proved a terrifically physical contest the like of which we tend to associate with South African rugby, and the turnovers flew thick and fast throughout the game.

Frans Ludeke fielded eight Springboks in his starting XV, with Victor Matfield making his 127th Super Rugby appearance - a record for a South African player. The Bulls were no doubt spurred on by a pair of defeats in their maiden 2014 fixtures, while the Lions - widely labelled the tournament's whipping boys - arrived at Loftus off the back of a brace of impressive victories.

Potgieter opened the scoring early on, banging over a long-range penalty after the visitors entered a maul from the side, and added a second two minutes later when the Lions strayed offside again.

But the hosts shot themselves in the foot straight from the kick-off; full-back Jurgen Visser gathered the restart cleanly, but dallied on the ball, and his attempted clearance was charged down by the onrushing Stephan Watermeyer. The centre calmly followed up and grounded for the game's opening try. Fly-half Marnitz Boshoff converted without trouble.

The Bulls came roaring back to regain the lead ten minutes later. A turnover yielded quick ball for Ludeke's men, and with the Lions defence in disarray, play was smartly spread wide to Bjorn Basson. Basson burned his way down the left touchline, before drawing the cover defence and releasing Serfontein to crash over unchallenged. Potgieter added the extras to restore the hosts' six-point cushion.

Boshoff and Potgieter exchanged three-pointers in the final ten minutes of the half; the Lions pivot's effort cancelled out by a booming 40-metre drop-goal and a close-range penalty from his opposite number, before Boshoff struck the post with practically the final kick of first forty minutes.

The rugby grew scrappier and the play more conservative after the break as both teams tired; balls were spilled, and territory was of greater value than possession with time ticking away. As such, it proved to be a low-scoring affair punctuated by errors and infringements.

It was another 21 minutes before the scoreboard operators were called into action, Potgieter slotting penalty number four, and forcing the Lions to overcome a 12-point deficit.

That kick did seem to stir the Lions into life as the substitutes began to roll on and off, but they were blighted by their own imprecision and indiscipline. The added power from the Bulls bench turned the tables in the scrummage - an area the visitors had edged in the first half - and the buckling Lions front-row allowed Potgieter to kill things off with another penalty on 74 minutes.

Johan Ackermann's men tried manfully to fight back and claim a losing bonus point, and they did manage a consolation score courtesy of another Bulls charge-down error. Matfield stole a Lions lineout ten metres from his own line, but after Francois Hougaard recovered possession; he hammered his attempted touch-finder straight into the face of Willie Wepener; the substitute managing to flop on the loose ball in the in-goal area. The hooker will no doubt be nursing a sore head this evening, but Boshoff landed the touchline conversion to leave his side eight points behind.

In spite of a frantic final minute down in Lions territory, neither side could add to the scoreline, and the Bulls finally got off the mark for their 2014 Super Rugby campaign.

The scorers:

For Bulls:
Try: Serfontein
Con: Potgieter
Pen:Potgieter 5
Drop: Potgieter

For Lions:
Tries: Watermeyer, Wepener
Cons: Boshoff 2
Pen: Boshoff

The teams:

Bulls:15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Grant Hattingh, 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Jono Ross, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Flip van der Merwe (captain), 3 Frik Kirsten, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 Dean Greyling
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Werner Kruger, 18 Marcel van der Merwe, 19 Paul Willemse, 20 Jacques Engelbrecht, 21 Piet van Zyl, 22 Handré Pollard, 23 Ulrich Beyers

Lions:15 Chrysander Botha, 14 Deon van Rensburg, 13 JW Jonker , 12 Stefan Watermeyer, 11 Ruan Combrinck, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Franco Mostert, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Schalk van der Merwe
Replacements: 16 Willie Wepener, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 MB Lusaseni , 20 Willie Britz, 21. Ross Cronjé, 22 Courtnall Skosan, 23 Coenie van Wyk

Referee: Chris Pollock (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa), Sieg van Staden (South Africa)
Television match official: Johan Greef (South Africa)

By Jamie Lyall
@JLyall93

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 5
Northampton vs Gloucester19:45
Saturday , September 6
Saracens vs Wasps14:00
Sale vs Bath14:00
Leicester vs Newcastle15:00
London Irish vs Harlequins16:30
Sunday , September 7
London Welsh vs Exeter14:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Rugby Championship
Saturday , September 6
New Zealand vs Argentina08:35
Australia vs South Africa11:05
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 5
Ospreys vs Benetton Treviso19:35
Munster vs Edinburgh19:35
Saturday , September 6
Scarlets vs Ulster14:40
Connacht vs Newport Gwent D'gons17:00
Glasgow vs Leinster17:15
Sunday , September 7
Zebre vs Cardiff Blues17:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , September 5
Montpellier vs Castres20:45
Saturday , September 6
Brive vs Toulouse14:45
Clermont Auvergne vs Racing Metro Paris17:00
Lyon vs Oyonnax18:30
Stade Francais vs Bayonne18:30
Grenoble vs La Rochelle18:30
Toulon vs Bordeaux-Begles20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , September 5
Western Province vs Eastern Province Kings19:10
Saturday , September 6
Cheetahs vs Pumas15:00
Sharks vs Griquas17:05
Blue Bulls vs Lions19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Sunday , August 31
Taranaki 41 - 3 Bay Of PlentyTaranaki vs Bay Of Plenty Report
Auckland 16 - 16 TasmanAuckland vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Saturday , August 30
La Rochelle 37 - 25 ToulouseLa Rochelle vs Toulouse Report
Grenoble 37 - 23 Bordeaux-Begles
Oyonnax 33 - 6 Stade Francais
Castres 30 - 6 BayonneCastres vs Bayonne Report
Racing Metro Paris 17 - 10 ToulonRacing Metro Paris vs Toulon Report
Lyon 24 - 6 Brive
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Griquas 25 - 36 CheetahsGriquas vs Cheetahs Report
Eastern Province Kings 22 - 41 LionsEastern Province Kings vs Lions Report
Blue Bulls 18 - 23 Western ProvinceBlue Bulls vs Western Province Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Counties Manukau 21 - 27 Hawkes BayCounties Manukau vs Hawkes Bay Report
Southland 22 - 33 Otago
North Harbour 16 - 22 WaikatoNorth Harbour vs Waikato Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Friday , August 29
Clermont Auvergne 20 - 21 MontpellierClermont Auvergne vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Pumas 32 - 22 SharksPumas vs Sharks Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Wellington 21 - 27 ManawatuWellington vs Manawatu Report
Thursday , August 28
Canterbury 48 - 3 NorthlandCanterbury vs Northland Report
Wednesday, August 27
Waikato 17 - 46 TaranakiWaikato vs Taranaki Report
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
Bayonne 38 - 12 Oyonnax
More Top 14 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00