Bulls do the business

GARETH DUNCAN reports on the Bulls’ 47-12 win over the Pumas in Pretoria, which sees them jump into the top four on the log.

It was mission accomplished for the Bulls, who achieved maximum points in their pursuit for a semi-final spot. They were held to a 16-12 win by the Pumas during a disastrous first round, but it was a stronger showing by the hosts on this occasion. This sees the Bulls (37 log points) edge WP (36) into fourth place on the table with only two rounds left in the campaign. This will put the pressure on Province, who will field a young team against the Sharks in Durban on Saturday.

The Bulls were clinical on attack, scoring six tries on route to their third four-try bonus point of the season. Flyhalf Louis Fouche contributed a personal tally of 22 through a try, four conversions and three penalties. The Bulls will also be pleased with their overall defensive display while they held the ascendancy at the breakdowns, scrums and lineouts for most parts of the match. The Pumas could only claim two consolation tries, with flanker Jaco Bouwer and lock Marius Coetzer dotting down either side of half-time.

Fouche was instrumental in the Bulls’ strong start to the match. After lock Flip van der Merwe’s early score, the 21-year-old pivot scored a try through a great chip and chase move in centre field. No 8 CJ Stander’s dart from a messy lineout secured a third try while Fouche also shone with the boot to kick the Bulls into a 28-7 lead at the break.

The Pumas defended well in the early stages of the second half, but their ill-discipline led to the fall of their resistance when tighthead prop Ashley Buys was yellow carded in the 52nd minute. With a one-man advantage, inside centre Francois Venter secured the Bulls’ bonus point from close range.

It went from bad to worse for the Pumas as they were reduced to 13 men following lock Willem Serfontein’s dangerous tackle – and the Bulls grabbed their final two tries through replacement No 8 Arno Botha and winger Bjorn Basson, who had a clear run from an intercept.