Bulls finish 2011 on a high

GARETH DUNCAN writes the Bulls eased to a 92-21 victory over the Leopards, which should be their final match of the year.

The Bulls require the Pumas to pick up a major upset win over WP at Newlands on Saturday for any chance of semi-final qualification. But with Province naming a Springbok-laden match 22, victory for the Witbank-based minnows is highly unlikely – which means the Bulls’ season has finished with their 71-point thrashing of the lowly Leopards.

Apart from a defensive lapse in the second quarter, the Bulls were dominant as they scored 14 tries. Wing Bjorn Basson was the star, scoring a second-half hat-trick while No 8 CJ Stander and lock Juandre Kruger grabbed a brace each in a strong forwards display over their hapless opponents.

The Bulls started the first stanza on the perfect note, sealing their four-try bonus-point inside 25 minutes. They scored their fifth try three minutes later when Juandre Kruger rushed over. But the Bulls dropped their guard on defence and a poor finish to the opening 40 allowed the Leopards to cut the deficit to 14 points as they crossed the chalk through flyhalf Wesley Dunlop, inside centre Joubert Engelbrecht and fullback Hoffman Maritz. The half-time score read 35-21.

The floodgates opened after the break, with the Bulls running in another nine tries in the second half. The Leopards couldn’t add any points to their tally as they played with 14 men for 20 minutes after flanker Luvuyiso Lusaseni and lock Bradley Mockford were sin binned for cynical and dangerous play respectively.

Skipper Gary Botha scored his first try of the season at the death in his final game for the Bulls. The 30-year-old will head for French club Toulouse. For the Leopards, however, they ended their tenure in the Premier Division with a heavy loss.