Waratahs

Waratahs earn bonus point despite loss to Bulls

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The Bulls defeated the HSBC Waratahs 16-13 in a rain-soaked Super 14 encounter at Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria.


Each side scored one try, however a drop goal with seven minutes remaining broke the deadlock to deliver the Waratahs just their third loss of the season.


The three-point loss however earns the Waratahs a bonus point, and keeps them in second place with two matches to play in the regular season.


Despite the persistent rain, the Waratahs started well when Wycliff Palu found space and sent Rob Horne over for his second try of the season in the ninth minute.


With the crowd roaring in the background, Kurtley Beale converted from 15m in from touch to give the Waratahs a 7-0 lead.


The Bulls kicking game was on fire, particularly when Derick Hougaard came on early to replace JP Nel, and eventually field position led to points when Hougaard piloted a drop goal in the 20th minute.


He missed another attempt eight minutes later, but soon after Morne Steyn booted a penalty to reduce the gap to one.


In the closing stages of the half Steyn and Lote Tuqiri had opportunities to land penalties, however both went wide and the Waratahs went to the break one point ahead, 7-6.


Coming back for the second half, both sides were keen to get their kicking games in order to overcome the horrendous conditions.


It was the Bulls who had the first real chance of the second half and it was hooker Derick Kuun who dropped over the line to put the home team in front for the first time.


Steyn’s conversion took the Bulls out to a 13-7 advantage in the 44th minute and the game had quickly taken on a different complexion.


The Bulls continued to dominate field position through their accurate and long kicking game. The Waratahs however remained composed and repeatedly forced errors or turnovers when the Bulls were on the attack.


Tuqiri missed a penalty in the 50th minute, however five minutes later Beale landed one of his own to close the gap to three.


Shortly after Beale missed a drop goal which would have tied the game, but he got it right with another attempt in the 65th minute and despite falling over while making contact, levelled the game at 13-all.


The Waratahs had their chances in the Bulls half, however it was the home side which always looked like scoring next.


With advantage being played, Steyn missed a drop goal in the 73rd minute, but when the ensuing free kick was tapped and driven towards the posts, Steyn again dropped into the pocket and made no mistake with the drop goal and the Bulls were back in front 16-13.


The final seven minutes saw both sides struggle to maintain possession or field position for long enough to put together an attacking raid worthy of points.


In the final minute the Bulls had the opportunity to go over and deny the Waratahs a bonus point, however the defence remained resolute to keep NSW in second on the table.


The Waratahs now head to Cape Town to complete the South African leg of their campaign next week in the penultimate round of the competition.


Rob Horne’s first half try raised another $500 for HSBCkids, the tutoring and mentoring program run by HSBC and children’s charity Barnardos, bringing the season total to $16,500.



Bulls 16
Tries: Derick Kuun
Conversion: Morne Steyn 1/1
Penalty Goals: Morne Steyn 1/2
Drop Goals: Derick Hougaard 1/3, Morne Steyn 1/2


HSBC Waratahs 13
Tries: Rob Horne
Conversion: Kurtley Beale 1/1
Penalty Goals: Lote Tuqiri 0/2, Kurtley Beale 1/1
Drop Goal: Kurtley Beale 1/2

 

Rugbyweek.com

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