The Bulls got the tour monkey off their back when they won their match against the Rebels in Melbourne on Friday – their first overseas win in three years and after 12 unsuccessful attempts.
With the 32-17 win, they moved to the top of the SA Conference with 32 log points – the same as the Jaguares who earlier on Friday beat the Hurricanes, but with an 11-point better points differential than the Argentinians.
These two sides cannot be topped before next weekend, with the Lions (26 ) and the Stormers (24) playing on Saturday.
The Bulls beat the Rebels, who went onto the field in second place in the Australian conference, after a torrid start by the visitors. Only willpower and their motivated defence kept the Rebels out until the eighth minute.
It continued in this vain. In fact, the Rebels enjoyed three-quarters of the first-half possession and territory.
The home side won double the number of rucks and mauls, but the Bulls ability to strike from their own territory and also to turn over defence into attack in the end proved too much for the Rebels.
The Bulls were decidedly fortunate to be 17-12 ahead at the break but in the second half showed that their willingness to run from deep in their own half could be backed up with pace and ability. The three Blitzboks in the side, Cornal Hendricks, Rosko Specman and Warrick Gelant, were outstanding in this respect.
Pollard, despite torrid pressure against the rush defence of the home backs had a good game. He orchestrated the backs and somehow again was all over the field to quell attacks.
RG Snyman, Duane Vermeulen who was an obvious target of the ill-tempered home side, and Tier Schoeman played their hearts out with the pack growing in stature as the match progressed.
All in all, a good Bulls performance, but there is still plenty of work ahead for coach Pote Human to get his side over the play-off line.
Rebels (12) 17: Tries: Marika Koroibete (2), Will Genia. Conversion: Quade Cooper.
Bulls (17) 32: Tries: Cornal Hendricks, Handré Pollard, Burger Odendaal, Rosko Specman. Conversions: Handré Pollard (3). Penalties: Pollard (2).