Pretoria - The Bulls had to stave off a massive
assault from the Crusaders in the dying moments to secure a late 32-30
victory in their Super Rugby match here on Saturday.
The visitors dominated the opening minutes of the game as they tested the Bulls’ defence from the outset.
were soon awarded for their positive play, with captain Kieran Read
crossing the tryline after he received the ball at pace from Andy Ellis,
with Dan Carter converting.
The home side's defence was at sixes and sevens as the Crusaders got over the gain line with ease.
added another three points in the 12th minute to give them an early
10-0 advantage, and they enjoyed the majority of the possession and
territory to put themselves in the driving seat.
The Bulls got
onto the scoreboard for the first time in the 17th minute when flyhalf
Morne Steyn succeeded with a penalty conversion.
The hosts once
again relied heavily on their kick-and-chase game in the first half but
it was used with little effect as the kicking from Steyn and Francois
Hougaard was inaccurate.
While Hougaard’s tactical kicking did not quite hit the mark, he was in rampant form in other areas of play.
got the Bulls out of a few sticky situations with great cross-cover
defence, snatching rogue balls close to his line from in front of the
The visitors added three more points to their telly thanks to Carter, who succeeded with a drop goal 25 minutes into the match.
the final play of the first half, Steyn converted his third penalty of
the evening as the Crusaders took a 13-9 lead into the break.
The Bulls had not fired on all cylinders in the first period, but in the second, they shifted up a gear.
Steyn opened the second half with a penalty conversion, narrowing the gap to 13-12.
Bulls finally took the lead for the first time in the match when prop
Dean Greyling sold a dummy to Crusaders fullback Israel Dagg, then made a
beeline to the tryline to score, with Steyn converting to give them a
The Crusaders’ Tom Taylor then recovered three
points with a penalty conversion in the 47th minute, but the Bulls
struck back with two consecutive penalties from Steyn to extend their
lead to nine points again with 20 minutes left in the match.
little over 10 minutes remaining, the Bulls struck another blow with
Wyand Olivier scoring a five-pointer, and Steyn converted to take them
to an almost unassailable 32-16 lead.
The Crusaders, however,
came back with two converted tries in the final moments of the match to
bring them within two points of the Bulls .
They set the match up
for a dramatic finish, with the visitors desperately attacking the gain
line, but the Bulls held on to keep themselves among the leaders in the
Bulls 32: Tries: Dean Greyling, Wynand Olivier. Conversions: Morne Steyn (2). Penalties: Steyn (6)
30: Tries: Kieran Read, Zac Guildford, Tom Marshall. Conversions: Dan
Carter (3). Penalties: Carter, Tom Taylor. Drop goal: Carter