Vodacom Super 14

Bulls beat Waratahs to go top

2010-02-27 21:38
Berick Barnes attempts to bring down Wynand Olivier. (Gallo Images)
Pretoria - The Bulls repulsed a ferocious assault by the Waratahs to win a ten-try Super 14 thriller 48-38 at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

The Waratahs shocked the Bulls with a ferocious, fast-paced assault in the opening ten minutes, taking a 17-0 lead and were 26-17 ahead at half-time before the defending champions stormed back.

"They came at us firing but luckily the guys kept their heads," said Bulls captain Victor Matfield. "Our fitness came through in the end and I think also the altitude helped us a little bit."

Waratahs captain Phil Waugh said a 17-point lead was never likely to be a safe cushion. "The way the rules are and the way the game is going these days a lot of points are scored," he said. "They came back well just before half-time and came out very well after half-time and scored some good points against us."

The Bulls went to the top of the table with a perfect record of three wins, adding a bonus point for the third time when they scored the fourth of their six tries. The Waratahs went away with a bonus point for scoring four tries.

The Australian side attacked from the kick-off and opened the score in the third minute when hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau crashed over.

Six minutes later scrumhalf Luke Burgess switched play superbly with a flick pass to flank Ben Mowen, who scored near the corner. Barnes converted both tries and kicked a penalty goal.

The Bulls hit back strongly and scored through left wing Francois Hougaard in the 15th minute.

With Barnes landing two more penalties and a 40 metre dropped goal, the Waratahs led 26-10 with less than half an hour played, forcing the Bulls to change tactics when they were awarded two penalties.

Instead of points machine Morné Steyn kicking for goal, they first kicked for touch, then took a tap kick when the Australians were penalised again.

Bulls pressure eventually brought a converted try by centre Stephan Dippenaar to reduce the Waratahs lead to 26-17 at half-time.

It seemed business as usual at the start of the second half when the Bulls took the lead through a Steyn penalty and a second try by Hougaard, which was converted from the touchline by Steyn.

But although the Bulls scored three more tries, the Waratahs never gave up and scored two more tries themselves.


Vodacom Bulls
Tries: Francois Hougaard (2), Stephan Dippenaar, Gerhard van den Heever, Wynand Olivier, Jacques-Louis Potgieter.
Conversions: Morné Steyn (6).
Penalties: Steyn (2).

Tries: Tatafu Polota-Nau, Ben Mowen, Lachlan Turner, Drew Mitchell.
Conversions: Berrick Barnes (2), Kurtley Beale.
Penalties: Barnes (3).
Drop Goal: Barnes.



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