The Bulls have played the Crusaders 24 times in Super Rugby since 1998, the Bulls have won eight matches and lost 16 times.
It gives the Bulls a 33.3% win-rate against the Crusaders regardless of venue.
- Loftus Versfeld has been a fortress for the Bulls in recent times, winning five of their last six Super Rugby matches against the Crusaders at home (L1).
- The three-times former champions did, however, succumb to a record 62-24 defeat on the Highveld to the Saders, in 2017, in the Republic.
- The Blue Bulls have won only one of their last 12 Super Rugby games against New Zealand opposition, and have lost their previous four such fixtures on the bounce.
- It is four years since the Bulls last beat the Crusaders at Loftus Versfeld, winning 31-19.
- The Christchurch franchise has won the last two encounters, home and away, versus the Pretoria outfit.
- The New Zealanders have won seven of their last eight Super Rugby matches in South Africa (L1), including four on the bounce – their most consecutive wins in the nation.
- The Crusaders (87%) boast the best tackle success rate in Super Rugby 2019, just one percentage point higher than the Bulls (86%).
- Handré Pollard (Bulls) has kicked 48 goals so far this Super Rugby season, the most of any player in the competition, and he is the highest point-scorer at this stage.
We are waiting for the kick-off.
There is a late change to the Bulls. Warrick Gelant has been withdrawn because of tonsillitis. Divan Rossouw moves to fullback, and Dylan Sage comes into the match-day 23.
1.00: PEEEEP! We are underway in Pretoria. Richie Mo’unga kicks deep into the Bulls’ territory.
3.00: Scott Barrett knocks on after another series of attacks. The first went seven phases before the Bulls forced a mistake, but the Crusaders regathered and are camped inside the Bulls’ half.
4.00: The Bulls clear twice, but have to defend a lineout on their 22.
5.00: Duane Vermeleun is a beast. He’s won a penalty at the breakdown; he won a turnover in contact in a previous attack, too.
6.00: Referee Rasta Rasivhenge is having trouble with the gap in the lineouts. Schalk Brits is back from his five-week suspension for his fist-fight with Akker van der Merwe.
7.00: Barrett knocks on in the lineout. Andre Warner kicks behind Sevu Reece, and Rosco Specman chases, stopping a quick throw.
8.00: The Bulls go quickly, the ball is turned over, and Mo’unga clears. He sliced his kick so that the home team will have an attacking lineout inside the Crusaders’ 22. Brits is down receiving treatment.
9.00: Brits was not allowed to train with the team, so he played touch on his holiday back in Stellenbosch.
10.00: The Crusaders win another turnover and try to run the ball out of their 22; eventually, Mo’unga clears, but the ball is not out. Specman counter-attacks.
11.00: Specman loses the ball, and Mo’unga finds touch 70 metres down the field because nobody was back for the hosts. PHEW!
12.00: The visitors sack the ball illegally, Barrett is singled out by Mr Rasivhenge. Handré Pollard boots his side back on the front foot.
13.00: Jason Jenkins loses the ball forward. The Crusaders have an 88% tackle completion rate, the best in the tournament. It will be tough to break them down.
14.00: TRY! Mo’unga latches onto George Bridge’s kick, in the field. Pollard gets back to clean up, but he gets a bad bounce. The ball bounces over his head and back into the hands of the Saders’ first-five, who walks in for the opening score of the game. 0-5
15.00: CONVERSION! Mo’unga takes a quick drop-kick because he might have been in front of the kicker, and the ref will not have time to check with the TMO. 0-7
17.00: The Bulls are awarded a free-kick. Pollard calls for the tee.
19.00: PENALTY! Pollard puts his team on the board. 3-7
20.00: David Havili is in front of the kicker, which will allow Pollard to clear. The TMO is called for a neck roll in the previous play. It’s only a penalty; Bridge is a lucky boy.
22.00: TRY! WOW! Richie Mo’unga is having a game. He sells a dummy, sending half the Bulls to the shops for an onion bagel with cream cheese and a latte. RG Snyman was caught flat-footed, Mo’unga ghosted to the 22, shrugged of Pollard’s cover tackle and beat Divan Rossouw to the whitewash. Stunning! 3-12
23.00: CONVERSION! Mo’unga slots the kick. 3-14
25.00: Burger Odendaal bursts through two defenders and charges into the Saders’ 22, however, the move breaks down. Scrum to the visitors.
26.00: Havili slips as he runs out of his 22, but Snyman tackles him high. It’s accidental, so only a penalty.
28.00: The Bulls need something, anything.
29.00: PENALTY! Pollard doubles his side’s score. 6-14
31.00: TRY! The Crusaders hit back. Mitchell Dunshea scores in the corner. The Bulls miss tackles, the Kiwis send the ball wide to the New Zealand U20 lock, and he pumps his legs to beat the cover D to the corner. 6-19
32.00: MISS! Mo’unga misses from the touchline. 6-19
35.00: The Bulls are being pulled apart, this could get messy.
37.00: TRY! Sevu Reece takes Kieren Read’s pass and saunters to the try-line. The bulls are all over the place. 6-24
38.00: CONVERSION! The kick is good. 6-26
40.00: The Bulls survive.
The halftime score was Bulls 6 Crusaders 26
41.00: PEEEEP! We are back underway in Pretoria.
43.00: Read tries to play quickly from a scrum, but Vermeulen wins his fourth turnover. He has been IMMENSE, again.
44.00: This is the Bulls first scrum; there’s been three for the tourists.
45.00: Michael Alaalatoa wins the penalty for the Crusaders. Everything is going wrong for the hosts. Pote Human must be scratching his head, but did we really think he had a game plan for this lot?
48.00: TRY! Reece has a brace, his eighth in seven appearances. Snyman was too slow, and Rossouw couldn’t get back to stop the winger. Game over. 6-31
49.00: CONVERSION! Mo’unga adds to his points tally. 6-33
51.00: Harry Allan gets penalised at his first scrum since coming on the field.
53.00: The Bulls go to their maul, win another penalty, and kick to the corner.
54.00: Pollard cannot take Specman’s pass, losing it forward and killing the chance of points.
56.00: The Bulls come again. Can they score?
57.00: TRY! Odendaal is over! Pollard sucked in the defenders before playing his centre in under the posts. 11-33
58.00: CONVERSION! Pollard adds the extras. 13-33
61.00: It’s been chaos out there. The Bulls need to throw caution to the wind. You cannot just flake out.
64.00: The game is slowing down as the altitude sets in.
67.00: TRY! Reece has a hat-trick. The winger gathers Mo’unga’s cross-kick and ends the game with a treble after beating Jaco Visagie. 13-38
68.00: CONVERSION! It’s good. 13-40
71.00: the game is breaking up. The hosts just want to leave with some respectability. They need two tries to do that.
74.00: Bridge has carried for 104 metres. He’s been superb.
75.00: TRY! Barrett crosses for another, joining brothers Jordie and Beauden, who scored in the Hurricanes’ win over the Blues. 13-45
76.00: MISS! The kick is wide. 13-45
78.00: The Crusaders have a defensive scrum on their line. the stadium is emptying. Sad.
80.00: The Bulls look for one last chance, they get a scrum, the hooter sounds.
83.00: the game ends with three knock-ons.
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The final score is Bulls 13 (6) Crusaders 45 (26)
Tries – Odendaal
Pen – Pollard (2)
Con – Pollard
Tries – Mo’unga (2), Dunshea, Reece (3), S. Barrett
Con – Mo’unga (5)
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistant Ref 1: Jaco Peyper
Assistant Ref 2: Egon Seconds
TMO: Willie Vos
15 Divan Rossouw, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Handré Pollard (captain), 9 Andre Warner, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Rudolph Snyman, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Lizo Gqoboka.
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima, 18 Wiehan Herbst, 19 Thembelani Bholi, 20 Paul Schoeman, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Manie Libbok, 23 Dylan Sage.
15 David Havili, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Matt Todd (captain), 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Mitchell Dunshea, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16 Andrew Makalio, 17 Harry Allan, 18 Oliver Jager, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Whetukamokamo Douglas, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 Braydon Ennor.