Bulls claim first Eden Park win over Blues
March 10, 2013
Alapata Leiua scored a crucial try as the Hurricanes beat the Crusaders © Getty Images
The Bulls claimed their first win at Eden Park to halt the Blues' early season run with a 28-21 victory.
The Bulls overpowered their opponents in the first half to build up a 15-6 lead thanks to tries from Lionel Mapoe and Akona Ndungane, while Morne Steyn added a conversion and penalty. The Blues fought back after the break with Charles Piutau touching down and Baden Kerr adding the conversion and his third penalty of the game to put the hosts ahead. But Arno Botha's try and a further eight points from the boot of Steyn ensured the Bulls claimed the victory despite Rene Ranger's late try for the Blues.
The Stormers bounced back from their opening round loss to the Sharks to defeat the Chiefs 36-34 in a pulsating match in Cape Town.
Gio Aplon grabbed two tries for the Stormers in the first-half but scores from Charlie Ngatai and Tim Nanai-Williams kept the New Zealanders in the mix. In the end it was the boot of Joe Pietersen that kept the Stormers out in front and they went into the break 26-17 to the good. In the second 40 Stormers' scrum-half Nick Groom bundled over for a score after 51 minutes to put them 33-20 in front. But three minutes later Ngatai grabbed his second and Andrew Horrell's 70th minute score gave the away side some hope. But the Stormers held on for a win that was marred by the news that Brian Habana faces 10 weeks out of action due to a knee injury.
Elsewhere on Saturday, the Southern Kings put in a valiant performance against the Sharks but eventually lost 21-12 at their Port Elizabeth base.
The Kings went into the match as underdogs but they held the Sharks at bay for much of the clash and will take heart from the fact that they prevented the Durban franchise from grabbing a try. The away side went into the break 12-3 up thanks to three penalties and a drop-goal from Patrick Lambie while Demetri Catrakilis slotted three points for the home side. In the second-half it was more of the same with nine points from Lambie and nine from Catrakilis bringing up the eventual 21-12 scoreline.
The Brumbies produced a strong and disciplined performance to defeat the Waratahs 35-6 at Canberra Stadium - but the victory came with a cost with a worrying injury to David Pocock. The Australia flanker could miss the rest of the season amid reports he has injured an anterior cruciate ligament. The loss of Pocock, though, failed to halt the Brumbies who brought on former Wallaby George Smith in his place. Ben Mowen, Christian Lealiifano, Henry Speight and Robbie Coleman all crossed as the Brumbies picked up a bonus-point win.
The Cheetahs stunned the Highlanders in Invercargill as they recovered from their round-three shellacking by the Chiefs to trump the South Islanders 36-19. Winger Kade Poki scored a hat-trick for the Highlanders but scrum-half Sarel Pretorius crossed twice for the Cheetahs while Robert Ebersohn also touched down with fly-half Johan Goosen decisively kicking eight from eight at goal - including six in the first half as the visitors asserted their dominance.
The Hurricanes claimed their first win of the 2013 Super Rugby season by defeating the Crusaders 29-28 in a remarkable topsy-turvy fixture.
The hosts were out-scored four converted tries to two with Ryan Crotty, Corey Flynn, Israel Dagg and Dan Carter all crossing for the Crusaders. But the Highlanders, who stayed in the game with a Julian Savea try in the 54th minute, fought back from 28-19 down with 20 minutes remaining to prevent a third consecutive Super Rugby defeat. Hurricanes fly-half Beauden Barrett kicked his fifth penalty goal from as many attempts, after Crusaders No. 8 and captain Kieran Read had been penalised for going off his feet in ruck, and Alapata Leiua then ran home for a converted intercept try with seven minutes to play to claim the home team's victory.
Melbourne Rebels let slip a half-time advantage for the third time in as many Super Rugby matches this season to allow the Queensland Reds to claim a 23-13 victory at AAMI Park. The Rebels led at the interval after Lachlan Mitchell had scored almost as the whistle was blowing, dotting down by the posts for a converted try to claim a 13-10 lead after being put into a hole on an angled run inside Anthony Faingaa by a delayed short pass from James O'Connor. O'Connor had kicked two earlier penalties. But the Reds hit back immediately after the break and scored 13 points without reply in the second half. Quade Cooper converted Nick Frisby's 41st minute try and landed two further penalties to add a first-half penalty and conversion of Ben Tapuai's try.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Jim Mallinder and Justin Burnell were sat on the same top table, but in different circumstances. Tom Hamilton reports on the Aviva Premiership season launch
Tom Hamilton reports back from the launch of the Guinness PRO12 where there is a renewed sense of optimism with all of the off-field changes to the league
So much for the great Australian revival, writes Greg Growden. It now has the potential of going off the rails after the capitulation at Eden Park
The latest Week in Pictures takes in photographs from the Rugby Championship, the Top 14 and the southern hemisphere domestic scene