The Reds managed to beat the spirited Bulls in a tight affair at Suncorp Stadium.
The Reds led 13 – 6 at half time before streaking away to win 23 – 18.
The Reds were saved by the sideline in the dying seconds of the game as the Bulls pushed hard to come away with a win. JJ Engelbrecht was denied by literally milimeters as he stepped on the chalk before what the Bulls thought was a match winning try. The Reds scored two tries to nil, one on each half, to beat the six penalties scored by the Bulls.
The match was marred with plenty of errors, but was entertaining as both teams ran the ball and a few more tries were expected. The referee struggled through the match, looking very unsure of himself. He gave each team a yellow card for dangerous tackles, with neither being intentional. Jono Lance spent 10 minutes off the field after lifting a player, but putting him back on his back. Lionel Mapoe was ran into by James Slipper, and was deemed to have lifted the player, even though his intention was to simply stop him. The yellow card against the Bulls was costly as the Reds managed to score ten points against 14 men.
James Horwill made his return to Super Rugby by starting the match, and along with experienced campaigners such as Will Genia and Anthony Fainga’a all returning from injury, the Reds are building some momentum as they get into the competition. It was the replacing of Horwill and Genia that left the Reds unsettled, and the Bulls very nearly beat them as a result of that disruption.
Louis Fouche kicked well, but it was the lack of ball going wide that hindered the Bulls’ progress. Jan Serfontein again made a telling contribution in the last ten minutes, and it cannot be very long until he starts a match. The lack of tries scored is what is keeping the Bulls on the losing side.
The Reds travel to Dunedin to take on the struggling Highlanders and the Bulls will face the Brumbies who will be travelling back to Canberra after their tour of South Africa.
By Richard Ferguson