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Bulls build winning lead before dozing off

Date

David Legge

BULLS 40 CHEETAHS 24

Juandre Kruger of the Bulls skips clear of the Cheetahs' defence.

Juandre Kruger of the Bulls skips clear of the Cheetahs' defence. Photo: Getty Images

PRETORIA: The Bulls scored six tries and then switched off in a 40-24 Super Rugbyvictory over the Cheetahs at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

MATCH STATS

A rout seemed on the cards when left-wing Bjorn Basson crossed for his ninth try of the season 18 minutes into the second half and fly-half Morne Steyn converted to put the three-time champions 40 points ahead.

Adding to the woes of the outplayed Cheetahs from central city Bloemfontein was that inside centre Andries Strauss had to spend another three minutes in the sin bin for retaliation.

But instead of surrendering, the mid-table Cheetahs finally exposed their claws to run in four tries for a bonus point and give the final scoreline far more respectability than seemed likely at one stage.

Bulls still got what they wanted -- a bonus-point victory that elevated them to fourth place and a guaranteed home quarter-final if they take nine points from the last fixtures against Coastal Sharks (away) and Golden Lions (home).

"It was important to get back on the horse after three consecutive defeats," said skipper and Springbok No 8 Pierre Spies. "We took our foot off the pedal in the second half but I am happy with the result."

Cheetahs captain and hooker Adriaan Strauss said the first half showing by his side which left them trailing 26-0 at half-time was "shocking" and "the worst performance of the season.

"We got our act together in the second half but by then it was too late to save the match. We must step up against Western Stormers next week and play two halves like the second half here."

After the Springbok-saturated Bulls dominated all phases for the opening 40 minutes, the second half often resembled sevens rugby with each side flinging the ball about and there were plenty of tries as poor defending was exposed.

Steyn -- under public and media fire after missing 12 of 22 goal kicks in the 2-0 Test series win over England this month -- landed five of six conversions attempts and the other rebounded off the far post.

His 10 points took him to 203 for the Super 15 season in what looks like a two-man race with Waikato Chiefs and All Blacks fly-half Aaron Cruden (198) to finish leading points scorer.

Spies, loose-head prop Dean Greyling, full-back Zane Kirchner, at times cumbersome scrum-half Francois Hougaard, tight-head prop Werner Kruger and Basson crossed the try-line for the Bulls.

Edinburgh-bound tight-head WP Nel bagged two tries for Cheetahs and full-back Willie le Roux and discarded Springbok flank Heinrich Brussow one each with replacement fly-half Sias Ebersohn kicking two conversions.

BULLS 40 (Bjorn Basson, Dean Greyling, Francois Hougaard, Zane Kirchner, Werner Kruger, Pierre Spies tries Morne Steyn 5 cons) bt CHEETAHS 24 (WP Nel 2, Heinrich Brussow, Willie Le Roux tries Sias Ebersohn 2 cons) at Loftus Versfeld. Referee: Marius Jonker.

AFP

Rugby Internationals 2014

Round 1
Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 18 vs TGA 18 Report Stats
FJI 25 vs ITA 14 Report Stats
NZL 20 vs ENG 15 Report Stats
AUS 50 vs FRA 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 47 vs WXV 13 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 29 Report Stats
USA 6 vs SCO 24 Report Stats
CAN 25 vs JPN 34 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 15 vs ITA Report Stats
FJI 45 vs TGA 17 Report Stats
NZL 28 vs ENG 27 Report Stats
AUS 6 vs FRA Report Stats
Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 38 vs WAL 16 Report Stats
CAN 17 vs SCO 19 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 23 Report Stats
USA 29 vs JPN 37 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
ARG 19 vs SCO 21 Report Stats
FJI 13 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
JPN 26 vs ITA 23 Report Stats
AUS 39 vs FRA 13 Stats
NZL 36 vs ENG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 31 vs WAL 30 Report Stats
USA 38 vs CAN 35 Report Stats
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Round 4
Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 55 vs SCO 6 Report Stats
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Round 5
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
BAR 36 vs AUS 40 Report Stats
USA 6 vs NZL 74 Report Stats
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Round 6
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 24 vs SAM 13 Report Stats
ENG 21 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
WAL 28 vs AUS 33 Report Stats
FRA 40 vs FJI 14 Report Stats
IRE 29 vs RSA 15 Report Stats
SCO 41 vs ARG 31 Report Stats
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Round 7
Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 18 vs ARG 20 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs RSA 31 Report Stats
WAL 17 vs FJI 13 Report Stats
SCO 16 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
FRA 29 vs AUS 26 Report Stats
Mon, 17 NovTimes shown AEDT
IRE 49 vs GEO 7 Report Stats
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Round 8
Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 6 vs RSA 22 Report Stats
SCO 37 vs TGA 12 Report Stats
IRE 26 vs AUS 23 Report Stats
WAL 16 vs NZL 34 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs SAM 9 Report Stats
FRA 13 vs ARG 18 Report Stats
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Round 9
Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
ENG 26 vs AUS 17 Report Stats
WAL 12 vs RSA 6 Report Stats
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