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Bulls earn bonus point victory over Sunwolves

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The Bulls kept themselves in contention for a play in the play offs by beating the Sunwolves 50-3 with a bonus point.

The Bulls are in a battle with the Sharks for the final Wild Card place in the South African Group and the result keeps the pressure on the Durban based side.

The Bulls outscored the Sunwolves by seven tries to none in the contest.

The result moved the Bulls to 37 points in Africa Conference 1 and provisionally above the Sharks in the South African Group.

But with the Stormers having already claimed the conference title by beating the Western Force 22-3 in Perth earlier on Saturday, the Bulls can only get into the playoffs via the back door with a wildcard from the overall South African Group.

They have moved provisionally above the Sharks into the wildcard position, two points ahead of the Durban side, who take on the Cheetahs at Kings Park later on Saturday ahead of next week’s final round of league matches.

Bulls coach Nollis Marais would have been delighted with the result at Loftus as his forwards overwhelmed the Japan-based Sunwolves pack in the collisions with their intense physicality, while the visitors just missed too many tackles throughout to have any chance of competing.

Impressive left wing Jamba Ulengo sparked the opening try when he fielded a kick from Sunwolves fullback Riaan Viljoen in the 11th minute and ran it back at searing pace, beating off three tackles before offloading to flank Lappies Labuschagne, who jogged over.

Labuschagne was deservedly chosen as the Man of the Match as he was influential in almost everything the Bulls did, on attack and defence. He was a strong ball-carrier who ran good lines, was always up in support of a teammate and contested hard at the breakdowns.

The Bulls struggled to field the kickoffs as Viljoen got serious height on his restarts that allowed the Sunwolves forwards to compete for the ball in the air, but that didn’t seem to affect the home side.

After flyhalves Ya Tamura and Francois Brummer traded penalties to take the score to 10-3 in favour of the Bulls, scrumhalf Piet van Zyl cut the Sunwolves defence to shreds with a wonderful break up the middle in the 21st minute, and the ball was recycled for centre Dries Swanepoel to dot down.

That score seemed to lessen the Japanese side’s appetite to tackle, as the Bulls pack rumbled forward through Labuschange, which saw blindside flank Jannes Kirsten pick-and-go to score the Bulls’ third try of the half.

Bad turned to worse for the Japanese outfit when a planned backline move from their own 22-metre area went horribly wrong. The ball was knocked-on and Brummer hacked the loose ball ahead, and the bounce was favourable for the No 10 to score the Bulls’ fourth in 32 minutes to be up 31-3 at half-time.

The blue brigade didn’t let up the pressure immediately after the break, with Springbok captain Adriaan Strauss rounding off from a scrum inside the opposition 22 to put the result beyond any doubt.

The Sunwolves tried hard to break the Bulls defence, but it was an inevitable knock-on and lost the ball in contact that saw the move break down.

Coach Marais also cleared the Bulls bench periodically during the second half, which contributed to the disjointed effort on attack. But they finished off with a flourish as right wing Travis Ismaiel crossed the line twice in the last 10 minutes.

But he will be pleased that his team did what they were required to do, and they will start next Saturday’s last league game knowing exactly what is required to clinch the playoff spot.

Next week in the final round of the regular season the Bulls travel to Bloemfontein where they will play the Cheetahs while the Sunwolves play the Sharks in Durban.

Final Score Bulls 50 (31) Sunwolves 3 (3)

Scorers

Bulls
Tries – L.Labuschagne, D. Swanepoel, J.Kirsten, F.Brummer, A.Strauss, T.Ismaiel2
Pen –  F.Brummer
Con – F.Brummer 4, T.Schoeman 2
Drop –
Cards –

Sunwolves
Tries –
Pen – Y.Tamura
Con –
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Quinton Immelman
Assistant Ref 1:Jaco van Heerden
Assistant Ref 2: AJ Jacobs
TMO :Willie Vos

Teams

Bulls

Jesse Kriel , Travis Ismaiel , Burger Odendaal , Dries Swanepoel ,Jamba Ulengo , Francois Brummer , Piet van Zyl, Renaldo Bothma ,Jannes Kirsten , Lappies Labuschagne , Jason Jenkins , Marvin Orie, Werner Kruger ,Adriaan Strauss (c), Pierre Schoeman.

Replacements: Jaco Visagie , Nqoba Mxoli, Marcel van der Merwe , Hanro Liebenberg /Grant Hattingh,Arno Botha , Rudy Paige, Tian Schoeman

Sunwolves

15 Riaan Viljoen, 14. Hajime Yamashita , 13 Derek Carpenter, 12 Harumichi Tatekawa (c), 11 Yasutaka Sasakura, 10 Yu Tamura, 9.Yuki Yatomi , 8 Edward Quirk, 7 Taiyo Ando, 6 Liaki Moli, 5 Naohiro Kotaki, 4. Hitoshi Ono, 3 Shinnosuke Kakinaga, 2 Takeshi Kizu, 1 Keita Inagaki

Replacements: 16 Futoshi Mori, 17. Masataka Mikami, 18 Takuma Asahara, 19.Faatiga Lemalu , 20.Yoshiya Hosoda 21.Kaito Shigeno , 22. Mifiposeti Paea , 23 Shokei Kin

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