Bulls dominate but outstanding defence, own inept backs their downfall

Bulls dominate but outstanding defence, own inept backs their downfall

The Bulls were the only of the four South African sides that didn’t get a single point from Saturday’s second round Super Rugby matches.

For that they have to blame their own poor options and handling – and at times, especially early in the match, their own ineptitude when they tried to get their backline on the move.

Passes to where there were no teammates, running into one another … they looked rattled an uncertain, and backline coach Chris Rossouw will have plenty to do in the next two weeks before they play their first home match against the Blues on 22 February after a bye next weekend.

The Bulls controlled virtually everything in their 0-13 defeat against the Stormers who registered their eighth successive win at Newlands against the Pretoria side. However, the Bulls also missed 18 of their 101 tackles, the Stormers only 19 from 119.

The Bulls easily won the ruck count 60-49, won the mauls, were on top in the scrums, carried the ball more often and, like the home side, beat 19 defenders.

But they could not penetrate the defence which was outstanding as the Bulls camped close to the Stormers tryline for long periods, probable the bulk, of the second half.

Good news for the Bulls was the performance of their pack who were on top against the more vaunted Cape eight. A few adjustments in their backline positional play and confidence in one another, and they could still do well as the season progresses.

It was the last North-South derby to be staged at Newlands as the hosts will move to the Cape Town Stadium next year. The crowd of 27 301 witnessed a typical hard-fought South African derby played in perfect conditions.

Stormers vs Bulls match report by SA Rugby Communications
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Other SA Conference matches

Two tries by Tyrone Green steered the Emirates Lions to a 27-20 victory over the Reds, while the Cell C Sharks produced a sublime performance on Friday to smash the Highlanders 42-20 in Dunedin.

In the last match of the round played on Sunday morning (SA time), the Hurricanes produced a come-from-behind effort to beat the Jaguares 26-23 in a pulsating encounter in Buenos Aires.

As things now stand after just to rounds, the Stormers, who have scored 40 points without conceding any after their 27-0 against the Hurricanes last week, top the SA Conference (and also overall) standings with nine log points. They are followed by the Sharks (eight), Jaguares (six) and Lions (four), while the Vodacom Bulls have no points after two rounds. 

Lions down gutsy Reds at Ellis Park

The Lions scored four tries, including a double by wing Tyrone Green, to defeat a gutsy Reds 27-20 in their Vodacom Super Rugby second-round match on Saturday afternoon in Johannesburg. The Highvelders led 17-13 at halftime.

The Reds had the upper hand in the lineouts and scrums, where they enjoyed a big weight advantage. However, the visitors struggled in general play mainly because of too many handling errors. The home scrum improved in the second half when the replacement forwards were sent onto the field.

Lions vs Reds match report by SA Rugby Communications
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Sharks vs Highlanders match report by SA Rugby Communications
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