Bulls run over the top of Western Force
March 3, 2013
Western Force were much improved in Pretoria, but still fell short against the Bulls
© Getty Images
Western Force returned much improved form against the Bulls but still slipped to their third loss from as many Super Rugby matches this season.
The Force lost narrowly to Melbourne Rebels in their opener then put in a poor performance to hand Southern Kings a maiden victory in Port Elizabeth, but they tested fully the powerful Bulls at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria. They led 26-19 early in the second half, after a try from Toby Lynn, but the home side piled on 17 unanswered points to claim a four-try bonus point victory; the Force failed to claim even a bonus point.
The Bulls made a perfect start when fly-half Morne Steyn carved through the non-existent Force defence to score the try. The Force responded quickly, their new game plan after disastrous kicking in their opening two matches evident with South African fly-half Sias Ebersohn nailing a drop goal at the 10-minute mark. The teams then traded penalties, including a 58-metre goal from Ebersohn, as the Bulls led 14-9 going into half-time.
Ebersohn dropped his second field goal shortly after the restart before the Bulls scored another simple try, this time to winger Sampie Mastriet. The Force levelled the scores at 19-19 through a converted try from Angus Cottrell in the 46th minute then claimed the lead when Lynn scored the second try of his Super Rugby career; the Bulls surprisingly turned down an easy penalty goal to go for a lineout, but the visitors defence created a turnover to commence the play that led to Lynn's try to mark his 50th Super Rugby performance.
The stunned Bulls regained their composure, however, and powered home with a penalty and two late tries to overrun the Australian side.
The Bulls proved too strong in the final stages, scoring 17 unanswered points to claim the victory
"Cheika's been phenomenal. He gives you an incredible level of mental strength." Tom Hamilton talks to Waratahs star Jacques Potgieter
While the Super Rugby season enters the all-important knockout phase, elsewhere pre-season training never looked so enjoyable. We round-up the best snaps in our Week in Pictures
"Our scrums and lineouts are sometimes not that good but our men are very brave." Ken Borland finds that rugby is on the rise in Senegal
Laurie Fisher talks about the Brumbies and Gloucester, and provides revealing thoughts on the player involvement during the glory days in Canberra