Bulls

Last gasp Habana try seals top spot in Super14

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The Cheetahs came close to upsetting the Bulls Semi final party with some outstanding defence but eventually collapsed to a 29-20 defeat to the Bulls who picked up a crucial bonus point for scoring four tries.


Bryan Habana scored the crucial bonus point try just seconds before the final whistle which put the Bulls at the top of the log going into the final round next weekend when the Bulls travel to Durban to face the Sharks.


The Cheetahs had three players sent to the bin and put their bodies through the toughest match of this year’s Super 14 as they were determined not to let the Bulls win and take the top spot.


Their performance was so impressive that it showed that the Cheetahs simply don’t have their hearts in the Super 14 and only come to the party when they want to – and that is when they play their Currie Cup rivals.


It was a game full of movement from both sides, some great defence from the visitors and outstanding forward driving play from the Bulls.


The Bulls now move a point ahead of the Chiefs who relegated the previous log leaders, the Hurricanes, to third place.


The Bulls went into the match knowing they would jump to the top of the log with a bonus point win.


However, their chances looked bleak when they still had only an Akona Ndungane try to show by halftime, and also trailed 15-10 at the break despite their dominance in the second quarter.


That first try was a gem. Bryan Habana, they have been saying lately, has lost pace. There are three Cheetahs defenders who would disagree.


He gathered a poor Hennie Daniller kick on the halfway line and against the touchline. It was clear within his first five determined metres: you won’t stop me.


He ran straight, onto the three defenders and then, at full speed, swerved to the inside to leave them stranded. Drawing the last man Habana sent fellow winger Ndungane over under the posts.


That brought the Bulls square at 7-all after a Cheetahs try in the first five minutes when scrumhalf Tewis de Bruyn scored against the posts for an early 7-0 lead.


Then, after 15 minutes, the Bulls were standing around after an injury to Zane Kirchner when Meyer Bosman threw in quickly at a lineout for Hendro Scholtz to run all of 45 metres for a soft try in the corner (12-7). Naas Olivier stretched the lead to 15-7 after 22 minutes despite the Bulls having the most of the game.


And then it became all Bulls. With Scholtz sin-binned for a cynical and late tackle, their forwards took on the Cheetahs and drove them back from one ruck to the next.


Good work on the ground by Heinrich Brussow and some unpunished but effective delaying of Bulls possession at the rucks , kept the scoreline unchanged until Morne Steyn kicked a penalty on the halftime whistle for the Free State side to lead 15-10 at the break.


They went on where they had left off, but somehow contrived not to score and from another turnover after nine phases under the Cheetahs posts, the visitors took it wide to Jongi Nokwe. And, as they say, there is no replacement for pace.

 

He scored in the corner, and at 20-10 the Bulls were really up against it, although they still had 32 minutes to rectify matters.

That they did five minutes later after the Cheetahs had threatened with their backs, and this time it was the visitors who let the Bulls in for a soft try via Chiliboy Ralepelle (20-17).


Still the Cheetahs gave their all, and the Bulls were under great pressure when the visiting backs ran. But when the Bulls got relief from a kick from their own 22, Tewis de Bruyn was the third Cheetahs player sin-binned, this one for a spear tackle on Ndungane who had collected the deep kick.


The wing added insult to injury when, a minute later, Francois Hougaard kicked high, collected and put the Bok away for his second.


The Bulls had, after 66 minutes, taken the lead for the first time (22-20). There were a few scary moments for the home side as the Cheetahs continued their running approach, but the Bulls regrouped well when the Cheetahs seemed to have enough players on the outside to retain their slender lead.


And then, after another wave of forward attacks and with time running out, the Cheetahs at last got a ball to run with in their own 22 and it was Habana who pounced on a Bosman pass for another of his intercept tries and the crucial bonus point


 

Final score Bulls 29 Cheetahs 20

Scorers


Bulls
Tries – Ndungane 2,  Ralepelle, Habana
Pen – Morne Steyn
Con – Morne Steyn 3
Drop –

 

Cheetahs
Tries – Tewis de Bruyn, Hendro Scholtz, Jong Nokwe
Pen – Naas Olivier
Con – Naas Olivier
Drop –

Cards – Yellow (29) Hendro Scholtz (42) Wian du Preez (64)  Tewis de Bruyn

 

Man of the match : Bryan Habana

 

Match Officials
Referee: Stuart Dickinson (Australia)
Touch judges: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa), Daniel Cheever (Australia)
Television match official: Johann Meuwesen (South Africa)
Assessor: Arrie Schoonwinkel (South Africa)


Teams


Bulls : Zane Kirchner; Akona Ndungane, Jaco Pretorius, Wynand Olivier, Bryan Habana; Morn’ Steyn, Heini Adams; Pierre Spies, Dewald Potgieter, Deon Stegmann, Victor Matfield (capt.), Bakkies Botha, Werner Kruger, Derick Ku’n, Gurthr’ Steenkamp.


Replacements: Chiliboy Ralepelle, Rayno Gerber, Danie Rossouw, Pedrie Wannenburg, Francois Hougaard, Burton Francis, JP Nel.


Cheetahs: Hennie Daniller, Danwel Demas, Corn’ Uys, Meyer Bosman, Jongi Nokwe, Naas Olivier, Tewis de Bruyn, Hendro Scholtz, Juan Smith (capt.), Heinrich Br’ssow, David de Villiers, Wayne van Heerden, Kobus Calldo, Adriaan Strauss, Wian du Preez.


Replacements: Richardt Strauss, WP Nel, Nico Breedt, Kabamba Floors, Sarel Pretorius, JW Jonker, Fabian Juries. 

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