Not great or good enough for the top sides to sit up and take undue notice, but it was a good turnaround from the Bulls who are still smarting over that 56-20 hiding the Chiefs dished out on their home field and the unnecessary loss against the Jaguares last weekend.
The beat the very average Reds 32-15 on Saturday afternoon, scored five tries to two for a bonus point and took the lead in the South African conference.
The first half was played at a near-frenetic pace as the Bulls ran every bit of possession wide. There can be little doubt that this is an indication of the approach they want to follow this season, but there were also warning signals that it wouldn’t work against better opposition or until they had tightened up their handling.
There were too many handling errors, errors of judgment and too little planned rugby.
As an exercise, it was good. As a winner against strong teams, less so.
But after the halftime break there was a more measured approach, the structure was (nearly) there and they played some decent rugby.
On Saturday two of the injured Bulls Boks who made a welcome comeback, RG Snyman and Warrick Gelant, were outstanding – Snyman with his skillful linking and taking the ball forward, and Geduld for his thinking and game management. Up front Marco van Staden did a load of work and with non-Bok Lizo Gqoboka were others who made life difficult for the Reds.
The win puts the Bulls at the top of the SA Conference log and second on the overall log on point difference.
♦ Next weekend the Bulls have a bye, then it is off to Newlands to play the Stormers who at last played some decent and winning rugby on Friday in beating the Rebels and will be very anxious to exact revenge after their 3-40 defeat to the Bulls at Loftus in February.
There remains plenty of work for the Bulls, not least to get the returnees from injury to gel with the pattern of the team again. But for now, there is some reprieve and a smile on coach Pote Human’s face.
Bulls (13) 32 – Tries: Lizo Gqoboka, Marco van Staden, Handré Pollard, Hanro Liebenberg, Jade Stighling. Conversions: Pollard (2). Penalty: Pollard.
Reds (3) 17– Tries: Samu Kerevi (2). Conversions: Bryce Hegarty (2). Penalty: Hegarty.