The Bulls beat the Reds 32-17 scoring five tries with a dominant display at Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria.
Lizo Gqoboka, Marco van Staden, Handré Pollard, Hanro Liebenberg and Jade Stighling all crossed for the Bulls after Bryce Hegarty’s early penalty put the Reds in front.
Samu Kerevi scored twice in the second half for the beleaguered Reds, who are still to register back-to-back away wins outside Australia since 2013.
Pote Human’s side controlled the game from start to finish, dominating the set-pieces and tight phases.
Gqoboka and Van Staden’s tries gave the Bulls a 10-point halftime lead.
Pollard crossed soon after the break to extend the advantage before the former three-time champions pulled away with two more scores.
Kerevi scored in the 58th-minute to reduce the deficit, but the Blue Bulls hit back through Liebenberg and Stighling soon afterwards to end the game as a contest.
Video Highlights: Bulls versus Reds
The Queensland skipper’s hard, straight running saw him grab another five-pointer near the end of a poor display by the visitors.
The win moves the Bulls into second on the South African Conference log while the Reds’ loss keeps them in fourth in the Australia Conference.
Bulls start slowly but grow into the game
Last weekend’s meltdown against the Jaguares did not have an effect on the Bulls.
They started well Gqoboka crashed over after some smart work by Burger Odendaal – who was immense today – and Jaco Visagie.
The try came from a turnover and quick counter-attack.
The centre and hooker combined in the build-up to the loosehead’s fourth-minute try that put the home team ahead after Hegarty’s early penalty.
Johnny Kotze and Paul Schoeman went close before Gqoboka went over.
Pollard extended the lead with a penalty in the 15th-minute. Stighling should have scored, but the winger’s swallow dive was ill-judged.
He would have easily scored after Warrick Gelant put him away in the corner, but he dropped the ball in the air when he should have just dived low.
Van Staden crashed over for his third Super Rugby try after a powerful rolling maul.
The Bulls split immediately to the right and used a powerful leg-drive to drive over.
Hamish Stewart’s ill-discipline had cost his side the penalty that set-up the lineout.
The home side’s forwards were in command but kept giving away scrum-penalties on the Queensland 5-metre line. It kept the visitors in the game as they only trailed by two scores.
Vintage Pollard try extends the lead
Human’s men were on the front foot from the restart. The forwards went through the phases using pick-and-drives before the Springboks standoff took a flat ball at pace and crashed over under the posts.
It was reminiscent of his tries against the All Blacks when he first burst on the scene. He added the extras.
Brad Thorn’s side started to go through the phases. They marched the opposition backwards as they looked for a score.
Their patience paid off when Lukhan Salakaia-Loto found a gap and offloaded to his skipper in support. It was an easy finish for Kerevi.
However, the Bulls hit back immediately from the restart. Jesse Kriel – also back from being rested – broke the gain line after a lineout on the Reds’ 22.
Quick ball was recycled to RG Snyman, who combined with Gelant. The fullback and lock’s one-two opened the space near the fringes.
Snyman glided through before playing the supporting Liebenberg on the outside. The flanker cut inside two defenders and beat another to score under the sticks.
There was no way back for the men from the Gold Coast.
Pollard’s kick-pass to Stighling set up the winger’s try. It was magic.
The bulls were on the attack, using the quick ball, the flyhalf looked up and saw the space in the wide channel and floated a pin-point cross-kick into the arms of the 25-year-old.
Hegarty and Aidan Toua could not stop the flyer.
Kerevi has his second after some sustained pressure inside the 22. He ran hard and straight and the gain line and the South Africans could not stop him.
But it was all the Reds could muster as they fell to another away defeat.
Final Score: Bulls 32 (13) Reds 17 (3)
Tries – Gqoboka, Van Staden, Pollard, Liebenberg, Stighling
Pen – Pollard
Con – Pollard (2)
Tries – Kerevi (2)
Pen – Hegarty
Con – Hegarty (2)
Referee: Glen Jackson
Assistant Ref 1: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant Ref 2: AJ Jacobs
TMO: Willie Vos
15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Johnny Kotze, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jade Stighling, 10 Handré Pollard (captain), 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Paul Schoeman, 7 Hanro Liebenberg, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Rudolph Snyman, 4 Jannes Kirsten, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Lizo Gqoboka.
Replacements: 16 Corniel Els, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima, 18 Wiehahn Herbst, 19 Thembelani Bholi, 20 Roelof Smit, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Manie Libbok, 23 Divan Rossouw.
15 Hamish Stewart, 14 Jack Hardy, 13 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 12 Samu Kerevi (captain), 11 Aidan Toua, 10 Bryce Hegarty, 9 Tate McDermott, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 Liam Wright, 6 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 5 Harry Hockings, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Alex Mafi, 1 JP Smith.
Replacements: 16 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 17 Harry Hoopert, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Angus Blyth, 20 Angus Scott-Young, 21 Moses Sorovi, 22 Duncan Paia’aua, 23 Jock Campbell.