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Bulls survive late Crusaders charge to win thriller


David Legge


Crusaders winger Sean Maitland crashes into the Bulls defence.

Crusaders winger Sean Maitland crashes into the Bulls defence. Photo: AFP

PRETORIA: The Bulls survived a late Crusaders onslaught to triumph 32-30 on Saturday in a thrilling Super Rugby clash of former champions.


The home team recovered from an early 10-point deficit to lead by 16 points with 10 minutes remaining before a vocal holiday crowd at the Loftus Versfeld fortress of the three-time title holders.

But seven-time champions Crusaders hit back with winger Zac Guildford crossing for a try Dan Carter converted and replacement back Tom Taylor having another try disallowed before Tom Marshall raced in and Carter converted again.

That left just two points between the southern hemisphere provincial giants and as the hooter sounded for time, Crusaders found themselves with the ball but inside their 22-metre line.

Retaining possession under fierce pressure and receiving two penalties, the visitors forced their way to the halfway line before surrendering possession and a relieved replacement scrum-half Jano Vermaak booted the ball into touch.

Bulls ended with only 40 per cent possession in a match of three phases, but their superiority for the first 30 minutes of the second half reaped 23 points with master goal kicker Morne Steyn in top form.

The Springbok fly-half succeeded with eight of 10 shots at the posts -- two conversions and six penalties -- and his perfectly weighted chip kick set up centre Wynand Olivier for the Bulls second try.

Prop Dean Greyling scored the other four minutes into the second half as he collected a pass from flank CJ Stander, sold a dummy any back would have been proud of and dived over for only his second Super 15 touchdown.

Crusaders retained possession superbly throughout the first half and would not have been flattered by a bigger half-time lead than 13-9, but added just three points before their late scoring surge.

Star fly-half Dan Carter, making his second start after a lengthy injury lay-off that sidelined him during the triumphant All Blacks march to the 2011 Rugby World Cup title, missed four kicks out of seven at goal.

He converted tries by skipper and eighthman Kieran Read, Guildford and Marshall, kicked a penalty and a drop goal and replacement Tom Taylor succeeded with his one penalty attempt.

Crusaders, who defeated lowly Golden Lions in Johannesburg last weekend, return home for a third consecutive clash with a South African side as leaders Western Stormers visit Christchurch while Bulls are away to the Lions.

BULLS 32 (Dean Greyling, Wynand Olivier tries Morne Steyn 2 cons 6 pens) bt CRUSADERS 30 (Zac Guildford, Tom Marshall, Kieran Read tries Daniel Carter 3 cons Carter, Tom Taylor pens drop goal) at Loftus Versfeld. Referee: Jaco Peyper.


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Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 35vs FJI 11 Report Stats
TGA 10vs GEO 17 Report Stats
IRE 50vs CAN 7 Report Stats
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 32vs JPN 34 Report Stats
FRA 32vs ITA 10 Report Stats
SAM 25vs USA 16 Report Stats
WAL 54vs URU 9 Report Stats
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 26vs ARG 16 Report Stats
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 45vs JPN 10 Report Stats
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 28vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 38vs ROM 11 Report Stats
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 58vs NAM 14 Report Stats
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 54vs GEO 9 Report Stats
ITA 23vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 46vs SAM 6 Report Stats
ENG 25vs WAL 28 Report Stats
AUS 65vs URU 3 Report Stats
SCO 39vs USA 16 Report Stats
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 44vs ROM 10 Report Stats
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 35vs NAM 21 Report Stats
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 23vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 41vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 43vs GEO 10 Report Stats
SAM 5vs JPN 26 Report Stats
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 34vs SCO 16 Report Stats
ENG 13vs AUS 33 Report Stats
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 45vs TGA 16 Report Stats
IRE 16vs ITA 9 Report Stats
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 15vs ROM 17 Report Stats
FJI 47vs URU 15 Report Stats
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 64vs USA 0 Report Stats
NAM 16vs GEO 17 Stats
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 47vs TGA 9 Report Stats
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 33vs SCO 36 Report Stats
AUS 15vs WAL 6 Report Stats
ENG 60vs URU 3 Stats
ARG 64vs NAM 19 Report Stats
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 32vs ROM 22 Report Stats
FRA 9vs IRE 24 Report Stats
USA 18vs JPN 28 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 23vs WAL 19 Stats
NZL 62vs FRA 13 Report Stats
IRE 20vs ARG 43 Report Stats
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
AUS 35vs SCO 34 Stats
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 18vs NZL 20 Stats
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 15vs AUS 29 Stats
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 24vs ARG 13 Stats
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
NZL 34vs AUS 17 Stats
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 4 4 0 0 106 17
Wales 4 3 1 0 49 13
England 4 2 2 0 58 11
Fiji 4 1 3 0 -17 5
Uruguay 4 0 4 0 -196 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
South Africa 4 3 1 0 120 16
Scotland 4 3 1 0 43 14
Japan 4 3 1 0 -2 12
Samoa 4 1 3 0 -55 6
USA 4 0 4 0 -106 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 4 4 0 0 125 19
Argentina 4 3 1 0 109 15
Georgia 4 2 2 0 -70 8
Tonga 4 1 3 0 -60 6
Namibia 4 0 4 0 -104 1
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Ireland 4 4 0 0 99 18
France 4 3 1 0 57 14
Italy 4 2 2 0 -14 10
Romania 4 1 3 0 -69 4
Canada 4 0 4 0 -73 2
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