Bulls take stranglehold of SA conference
June 1, 2013
Replacement scrum-half Jano Vermaak's try helped the Bulls secure the win
© Getty Images
Taking out a 30-25 win over the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday virtually assured the Bulls of winning of the South African Super Rugby conference.
Their win gave them an eight-point cushion with three rounds remaining with games against the Kings, Sharks and Stormers to come.
However, the Cheetahs demonstrated why they sit second on the ladder in a three-try-each, fast-moving game.
Bulls prop Werner Kruger opened the scoring on the back of some sterling driving play by Chiliboy Ralepelle when he took the ball at speed and proved an unstoppable force to get the ball over wide out.
The home team responded immediately when wing Willie le Roux demonstrated some individual class by putting a chip kick over the defence and regaining the ball to score beneath the posts.
Twenty minutes into the game flanker Deon Stegmann was on the end of a Bulls rolling maul to add another five points. Penalty goals were exchanged between Cheetahs fly-half Riaan Smit and his Bulls rival Morne Steyn as the Bulls went into the half-time break ahead 17-10.
While Smit opened the scoring in the second half with the second of his penalty goals, Cheetahs' infringements allowed Steyn to add two penalty goals for the Bulls.
A crucial try to the Bulls through replacement scrum-half Jano Vermaak looked to have put quelled the home team's fire, but Cheetahs inside-centre Robert Ebersohn combined with Smit to get the first five in at the corner.
And near the end of the game it was replacement prop Trevor Nyakane who won the support of the Television Match Official in his grounding of the ball to ensure the Cheetahs came out of the game with a loser's bonus point.
The Bulls proved too strong in an entertaining victory over the Cheetahs (video available in Australia only)
Huw Richards assesses where Wales are after a mixed Six Nations, with front row seats still very much available for the World Cup
John Mitchell lapped up the action on 'Sensational Saturday' - but warns not to expect a repeat come Rugby World Cup time later this year
Craig Dowd warns England, Ireland and Wales they should play to their strengths rather than those of the All Blacks and the Wallabies
Tom Hamilton runs the rule over just where the six countries stand ahead of the global gathering in September