Bulls hammer Chiefs to seal Super 14 title
May 30, 2009
Fourie du Preez crashed over for two tries for a rampant Bulls side
© Getty Images
The Bulls secured their second Super 14 title in three seasons with a commanding 61-17 win over the Chiefs at Loftus Versfeld. In front of fervent home support Victor Matfield's Bulls steamrolled the first-time finalists from Waikato, with Springbok scrum-half Fourie du Preez turning in a masterclass and scoring his side's two opening tries.
The Bulls crossed the Chiefs line on eight occasions, with Bryan Habana notching two first-half tries before Wynand Olivier, Pierre Spies, Danie Rossouw and Matfield himself, scoring an acrobatic effort, heaped misery on the visitors. With the British & Irish Lions limping to victory up the road in Rustenberg, the Bulls showed South African rugby to be in rude health with a performance of power, pace and no little style.
The Chiefs stole an early lead through wing Lelia Masaga, who latched on to a pass after some fine work from All Blacks fly-half-elect Stephen Donald. Their moment of celebration was all too brief, with Du Preez taking a quick tap and catching their defence napping only seconds later. The Bulls crossed the gainline at will in the early stages and following a shuddering hit on Chiefs hooker Aled de Malmanche du Preez was racing away for his second score only two minutes later.
With the Chiefs shell-shocked and de Malmanche on the treatment table, du Preez turned provider. Attacking the aggressive Chiefs defence he threaded a beautiful grubber in to a wide expanse of space and the arch-finisher Habana was ready and waiting to take the Bulls out of sight at 21-7 with only 14 minutes on the clock.
With the Chiefs forcing the play Habana picked off a loose pass from Richard Kahui to score his second and the Bulls' fourth before half-time and after the break there was little respite for Ian Foster's Chiefs.
Bulls skipper Victor Matfield was the next to cross, taking a break from his work at the game's coalface to dive swan-like across the whitewash after Chiefs skipper Mils Muliaina had rounded off a length-of-the-field effort for his side.
Morne Steyn pulled the strings expertly at fly-half, and an assured kicking display looks to have moved him in to pole position for the Springbok jersey. Jaco Pretorius contrived to drop the ball over the line with no opposition before his blushes were spared by his centre partner Olivier - his score rounding off an awesome individual effort this season.
No.8 Spies, a fearsome physical specimen and a genuine worry for the Lions, was next in line with another interception. His pace was enough to outstrip the Chiefs defence, with Habana just an onlooker as he brought the Super 14 trophy back to Loftus. Lock Rossouw was a fitting contributor at the close, his try the full-stop on an awful day out for the Chiefs.
Bulls: Zane Kirchner; Akona Ndungane, Jaco Pretorius, Wynand Olivier, Bryan Habana; Morné Steyn, Fourie du Preez; Pierre Spies, Dewald Potgieter, Deon Stegmann, Victor Matfield (capt), Bakkies Botha, Werner Kruger, Derick Kuün, Gurthrö Steenkamp
Replacments: Chiliboy Ralepelle, Rayno Gerber, Danie Rossouw, Pedrie Wannenburg, Heini Adams, Burton Francis, Marius Delport
Chiefs: Mils Muliaina (capt); Lelia Masaga, Richard Kahui, Callum Bruce, Dwayne Sweeney; Stephen Donald, Toby Morland; Sione Lauaki, Tanerau Latimer, Liam Messam, Kevin O'Neill, Craig Clarke, James McGougan, Aled de Malmanche, Sona Taumalolo.
Replacements: Hika Elliot, Joe Savage, Toby Lynn, Serge Lilo, David Bason, Mike Delany, Sosene Anesi.
The rolling maul is becoming an increasingly potent attacking weapon. Conor O'Shea looks at the difficulties of stopping it
The news of James Horwill, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Dan Carter's respective transfers will open the floodgates, writes Tom Hamilton
Kiwi coaches can be found far and wide across the globe, and Murray Mexted believes the All Blacks benefit every bit as much as their rivals
Clermont, Toulon, player burnout, Sam Burgess and a farewell to Adams Park - Monday Maul looks back at the weekend's action