Super Rugby

Bulls gore Jaguares in thriller




The Bulls fought back to beat the Jaguares 43-34 at Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria, ending the South American’s seven-game unbeaten run.

Jamba Ulengo scored a brace as the Bulls clawed back a 19-point lead, scoring six tries to five in the impressive victory.

Pablo Matera’s second try after the hooter set-up a chance for Emiliano Boffelli, who was sensational, to kick the last-second conversion for a losing-bonus-point.

But, the fullback’s kick hit the upright, to the joy of the Sharks, who are fighting the Jaguares for a playoff spot.

The game was played at a furious tempo on the hard turf and thin air of Loftus.

The Jaguares raced ahead inside the opening quarter, playing some scintillating rugby at speed and tempo that the Bulls could not handle.

Tries from Nicolas Sanchez, Matera and Gonzalo Bertranou, who also scored twice, gave the visitors a big lead.

However, the Blue Bulls managed to get a foothold and even take an unlikely 24-19 second-half lead.

Johnny Kotze, Embrose Papier and Jesse Kriel, on the stroke of halftime, was instrumental in the comeback, which took the wind out of the Argentinian’s sails.

Bertranou scored his second soon after the restart and Sanchez’s conversion put his team back in front, but the lead did not last long.

The Jaguares started to tire and the Bulls, led by RG Snyman and Handre Pollard, took full advantage.

Ulengo and Marco van Staden’s tries, as the South Americans wilted, propelled John Mitchell’s men to victory.

The South Americans came out the blocks hot, racking up three tries in the opening 20 minutes.

Their rugby was stunning, dragging the Bulls around the famous stadium and running rings around them – and through them.

In the third minute, Sanchez took the ball flat, saw the space and ran around a defender, stepped inside and beat three more Bulls to roll over and score.

Two minutes’ later, Matera scored under the posts, taking Bertranou’s pass after Javier Ortega Desio’s midfield break.

The Bulls are under the pump.

It got worse. Bertranou was put away by Tomas Lezana after Sanchez’s mini-break opened up space behind the defence.

Scintillating by the Argentinians. They were exposing the weak Bulls defence and finding space in midfield and the wide channels.

Bulls hit back immediately.

Somehow, Mitchell’s men did not wilt, or let their heads drop.

It was just a matter of finding a way back into the contest.

Warrick Gelant found the space, ran the outside space, played Ulengo, who drew the defenders and played Kotze on the inside.

If anyone was going to be the springboard for a comeback, it would be the fullback.

Boffelli was still cutting up the home side’s defence, in fact, the Bulls had no answer to his jinking runs and power in contact.

It was only that the Jaguares handling started to get sloppy, passes going astray and being dropped.

Sanchez missed a penalty and Divan Rossouw was lucky not to be sent to the sin-bin for a neck-role.

The hosts’ lineout, usually so strong, was poor, gifting two attacking lineouts inside the Jags’ 22 to the tourists.

But they kept going, fighting at the breakdown and beginning to make their tackles.

Papier scored a fortunate try after Liebenberg lost the ball backwards.

The scrumhalf gathered at the ruck, then ducked a tackle before speeding away.

Just before halftime, Pollard missed a penalty touch-finder.

The Jaguares ran it back, but the ball was intercepted by Kriel, and the centre would never look a gift-horse in the mouth.

He raced away to score under the posts.

Pollard’s conversion gave the Bulls the most unlikely of halftime leads.

Blou Bulle blitz.

The Springboks flyhalf added another three after the break, but Boffelli with another great run, set up Bertranou for his second try, moments later.

Sanchez converted and the visitors were back in front.

It was a short-lived lead because Ulengo had other ideas.

Pollard ghosted through a big gap, similar to Sanchez’s first-half try, and sent a wonderful pass to the winger for the five-pointer.

Van Staden decided to get in on the act. He broke free and bounced Bertranou away on his way over the whitewash from a lineout.

Pollard’s fourth conversion gave his team a 10-point cushion.

Instead of going for a lineout on the Bulls’ 5m, Tomas Lavanini argued for taking the points.

Boffelli reduced the gap to a single goal.

Kotze, dangerous as ever, beat defenders on another run before setting up Ulengo for his brace.

It was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

The Jaguares were tiring, struggling with the thin Pretoria air and probably paying for their high-tempo and intensity during the opening half-hour.

The Bulls attacked, sensing the altitude was crippling their opponents, but it was Matera who had the last word.

His second try set-up a chance of a losing bonus-point, but with Sanchez off the park, Boffelli lined up the kick.

The ball swerved away from the posts, hitting the righthand upright and bouncing away.

They would have to wait for the result of the Stormers-Sharks outcome to know how crucial the fullback’s miss was.

Bulls versus Jaguares video highlights.

Final score: Bulls 43 (21) Jaguares 34 (19)


Tries – Kotze, Papier, Kriel, Ulengo (2), Van Staden
Pen – Pollard
Con – Pollard (5)
Drop –
Cards –

Tries – Sanchez, Matera (2), Bertranou (2)
Pen – Boffelli
Con – Sanchez (3)
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Egon Seconds
Assistant Ref 1: AJ Jacobs
Assistant Ref 2: Jaco Kotze
TMO: Johan Greeff


Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Jamba Ulengo, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Johnny Kotze, 11 Divan Rossouw, 10 Handré Pollard (captain), 9 Embrose Papier, 8 Hanro Liebenberg, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Rudolph Snyman, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Conraad van Vuuren, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Pierre Schoeman.

Replacements: 16 Edgar Marutlulle, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima/Matthys Basson, 18 Mornay Smit, 19 Thembelani Bholi, 20 Nick de Jager, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 Manie Libbok, 23 Dries Swanepoel.:

Jaguares: 15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Bautista Delguy, 13 Matias Moroni, 12 Jeronimo De La Fuente, 11 Ramiro Moyano, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Javier Ortega Desio, 7 Tomas Lezana, 6 Pablo Matera (captain) , 5 Matias Alemanno, 4 Guido Petti Pagadizaval, 3 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Santiago Garcia Botta.

Replacements: 16 Julian Montoya, 17 Javier Manuel, 18 Santiago Medrano, 19 Tomas Lavanini, 20 Marcos Kremer, 21 Martin Landajo, 22 Matias Orlando, 23 Sebastian Cancelliere.

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