Bulls break Cheetahs' hearts at Loftus
Garrin Lambley - Sport24 Editor
Cape Town - The Bulls escaped with a narrow victory over the Cheetahs in their Vodacom Super Rugby clash at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday night.
As it happened: Bulls v Cheetahs
The Bulls won 20-14 after trailing 11-3 at half-time.
The Bulls scored two tries through replacement loose forward Jacques Potgieter and centre Jesse Kriel. Flyhalf Tian Schoeman was on target with both conversions as well as two penalties.
The Cheetahs, who led the match until the 73rd minute, replied with a try by flank Paul Schoeman and three penalties by pivot Niel Marais.
While the win may have temporarily staved off the calls for the axing of Bulls coach Nollis Marais, it would be short-sighted of the Pretoria-based union to take any real degree of satisfaction from a match in which they stumbled and fumbled their way to victory.
Likewise for the Cheetahs who ran out of steam yet again in the second half of a match in which they looked to be in control for the majority of the 80 minutes.
The Bulls picked up four points for their win, but stayed second in the Africa Conference 1, a full 12 points behind the Conference-topping Stormers, despite the Cape side's horror start to their New Zealand tour earlier in the day.
The Cheetahs left with a single point for losing by seven or fewer points, and remained third in the same conference as their conquerors.
In next weekend's Round 10 action, the Bulls will enjoy a bye while the Cheetahs welcome the unbeaten Crusaders to Bloemfontein (Saturday, April 29 at 17:15).
15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Hanro Liebenberg, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Nic de Jager, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Pierre Schoeman
Substitutes: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Martin Dreyer, 19 RG Snyman, 20 Jacques Potgieter, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Francois Brummer, 23 Franco Naude
15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 William Small-Smith, 13 Francois Venter (captain), 12 Nico Lee, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Niel Marais, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Henco Venter, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Paul Schoeman, 5 Carl Wegner, 4 Armandt Koster, 3 Johan Coetzee, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Charles Marais
Substitutes: 16 Elandre Huggett, 17 Ox Nche, 18 Tom Botha, 19 Francois Uys, 20 Niell Jordaan, 21 Uzair Cassiem, 22 Tian Meyer, 23 Fred Zeilinga