Vodacom Super Rugby
Bulls stumble to victory
Pretoria - The Bulls beat the Force 36-26 in a lacklustre second-round Vodacom Super Rugby match at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
hosts were lucky to take full points from the match, scoring four
tries, with the tourists proving a tougher prospect than the Bulls
expected as they struggled to get the upper hand against the
The Force relied heavily on South African flyhalf
Sias Ebersohn to cause damage through his kicking boot, and it was
always going to be difficult for the Bulls at the breakdown area with
the absence of a specialist openside flank.
VIDEO: Super Rugby: Bulls v Force - highlights
The Pretoria side
were outclassed at the breakdown, while the visitors also forced the
Bulls to do most of the playing, with Ebersohn launching the ball down
The Bulls made a promising start to the match when flyhalf
Morne Steyn made a beeline for the tryline, after a clever skip pass
from his halfback partner Francois Hougaard, to score two minutes after
Ebersohn, in fantastic form, made his presence felt eight minutes later with his first drop goal.
Steyn failed to convert his own try he made no mistake with a penalty
conversion just short of the 20-minute mark to regain their five-point
However, Ebersohn soon put the Force in front with two penalty conversions, including a kick of close to 60 metres at an angle.
seven minutes left in the first half, Steyn wrested back the lead with a
successful penalty goal, and shortly before the break, the Bulls came
close to scoring their second try of the evening.
Kirchner drifted a well-weighted pass to wing Bjorn Basson, who cut to
the inside and seemingly scored, but after a review by TMO Johan Greeff,
it was found that a pass from Lionel Mapoe to Kirchner went narrowly
Steyn nevertheless succeeded with another penalty
conversion before the half-time whistle to give his side a 14-9 lead at
The Bulls suffered two crucial injury blows when
Hougaard and hooker Chiliboy Ralepelle retired before the restart, with
Jano Vermaak and Willie Wepener replacing them respectively.
The Force upped the ante in the second half, and Ebersohn led the charge with a drop goal a minute after the kick-off.
hosts replied in emphatic style with debutant Sampie Mastriet scoring
from a tight space on the sideline, while Steyn's conversion attempt
missed the mark.
The Australians then came close to causing an
upset, with Angus Cottrell and Toby Flynn crossing the whitewash within
10 minutes of each other, and Ebersohn was on target with both
conversions to hand his side a seven-point lead.
The Force held on to their advantage for 15 minutes until the Bulls made a gutsy fightback.
succeeded with 12 minutes left on the clock before Jean Cook, who
replaced flanker Jacques Potgieter, scored in the 70th minute, with the
flyhalf converting the try.
The Bulls then finished the match off on a high with prop Werner Kruger scoring his side's bonus-point try at the death.
15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Sampie Mastriet, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Wynand
Olivier, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Mornè Steyn, 9 Francois Hougaard
, 8 Pierre
Spies (captain), 7 Arno Botha, 6 Jacques Potgieter, 5 Juandrè Kruger, 4
Flip van der Merwe, 3 Werner Kruger
, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle
, 1 Mornè
Substitutes: 16 Willie Wepener, 17 Frik Kirsten, 18
Grant Hattingh, 19 Jean Cook, 20 Jano Vermaak
, 21 Louis Fouchè , 22 Jan
15. Will Tupou, 14. Nick Cummins, 13. Winston Stanley, 12. Kyle Godwin,
11. Alifeleti (Alfi) Mafi, 10. Sias Ebersohn, 9. Alby Mathewson, 8.
Richard Brown, 7. Matthew Hodgson (Captain), 6. Angus Cottrell, 5. Hugh
McMeniman, 4. Toby Lynn, 3. Salesi Ma'afu, 2. Nathan Charles, 1. Pekahou
Substitutes: 16. Heath Tessmann, 17. Tetera
Faulkner, 18. Sam Wykes, 19. Ben McCalman, 20. Chris Alcock, 21. Mick
Snowden, 22. Jayden Hayward