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Steyn boots 'new' Bulls to victory

Date

David Legge

BULLS 18 SHARKS 13

Francois Hougaard clears the ruck for the Bulls.

Francois Hougaard clears the ruck for the Bulls. Photo: Getty Images

The Bulls fielded a new-look team against the Sharks at Loftus Versfeld on Friday, but it was 'old hand' Morne Steyn who kicked them to an 18-13 victory.

MATCH STATS

Springbok fly-half Steyn recovered from two penalty misses in a point-less first half to slot five after the break and land a drop goal before a sell-out 50,000 crowd.

Sharks fly-half Patrick Lambie also failed with two first-half attempts at the posts before kicking two and converting a try from flank Jacques Botes which set up a tense finish in perfect late summer conditions.

"We got some momentum going in the second half and this match emphasised how important it is to have a player like Morne in your team," said new Bulls skipper and number eight Pierre Spies.

"It is really uplifting for a forward to see his efforts translated into points and we did well to hold on when the Sharks came at us in the closing stages of a very physical battle."

Sharks flank Keegan Daniel has succeeded retired Springbok skipper John Smit as captain of the Durban outfit and he lamented the early second-half ill discipline that gave Steyn the chance to build a 18-6 lead for the Pretoria team.

"Morne is a great goal kicker and any team that gives him chances like we did is going to suffer. However, the spirit of the boys never flagged and I was proud of the way they fought to the end."

Bulls started without legends like retired Victor Matfield and overseas-based Bakkies Botha and scrum-half Fourie du Preez, who helped them win three Super titles in the past five seasons.

Smit, Ireland-based centre Stefan Terblanche and injured forwards Tendai 'The Beast' Mtawarira, Jean Deysel and Willem Alberts were missing from a Sharks side that had World Cup-winning Springbok wing JP Pietersen at outside centre.

The scoreboard operator was idle for 42 minutes and 40 seconds before Steyn kicked a close-range penalty that Lambie quickly cancelled with a successful effort from longer range.

Leading 2011 Rugby World Cup points scorer Steyn succeeded with four consecutive penalty shots, then Lambie with one before the Bulls fly-half dropped a goal to give the home team a 12-point advantage with 12 minutes left.

The referee missed a forward pass from replacement back Paul Jordaan in the build-up to the Sharks try nine minutes from time and a Lambie conversion from far out meant no one left the stadium before the final whistle blew.

BULLS 18 (Morne Steyn 5 pens, drop goal) def SHARKS 13 (Jacques Botes try; Patrick Lambie 2 pens, con)

AFP

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ENG 0vs FJI 0 05:00Twic
TGA 0vs GEO 0 21:00Kholm
IRE 0vs CAN 0 23:30MilS
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs JPN 0 01:45Brig
FRA 0vs ITA 0 05:00Twic
SAM 0vs USA 0 21:00Brig
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Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
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SCO 0vs JPN 0 23:30Kholm
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AUS 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs ROM 0 05:00Olym
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NZL 0vs NAM 0 05:00Olym
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 0vs GEO 0 01:45Kholm
ITA 0vs CAN 0 23:30Ella
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
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ENG 0vs WAL 0 05:00Twic
AUS 0vs URU 0 21:00Villa
SCO 0vs USA 0 23:30Ella
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IRE 0vs ROM 0 01:45Wemb
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TGA 0vs NAM 0 01:45Sand
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WAL 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs CAN 0 05:00stadium:mk
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SAM 0vs JPN 0 23:30stadium:mk
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SAF 0vs SCO 0 01:45St James' Park
ENG 0vs AUS 0 06:00Twic
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ARG 0vs TGA 0 00:30KPS
IRE 0vs ITA 0 02:45Olym
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CAN 0vs ROM 0 02:45KPS
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