Jake White’s Brumbies outplayed the Bulls at their own game to beat them in Canberra.
The match very nearly ended in a draw after the Bulls scored late in the match, but a penalty conceded after the hooter had Christian Lealiifano land a 42m kick to win the match.
Lealiifano kicked six penalties in the match, the last one being a long range pressure kick which confined the Bulls to a third consecutive loss on tour. The win keeps the Brumbies atop the Australian conference and still leading the overall log.
The first try of the match was on the half time hooter, Robbie Coleman sneaking in for an eleven point lead at the break. The Bulls hit back in the second half, Jurgen Visser scoring to keep the Bulls in touch. Lealiifano’s penalties throughout the match is what hurt the Bulls most, and even a late try by JJ Engelbrecht could not get them the win.
It was penalties at the breakdown which cost the Bulls, abd even though some of the calls were inconsistent, they were going both ways, and the Bulls had their fair share of penalties. THe second half saw plenty of scrum penalties going against the Bulls which culminated in Morne Mellett being sent off for collapsing the scrum. A harsh call which cost the Bulls as the Brumbies scored six points in his absence.
For the Bulls, there weren’t many positives in the match. They managed to score two well worked tries, but one has to wonder why they kicked away all their possession if they could score tries like they did. Jan Serfontein failed to have the same impact as he has off the bench, which questions the team instructions from the start of the match. Once the match practically lost, they started running the ball and almost walked away with a draw. Jano Vermaak will be kicking himself for not kicking the ball out on the hooter, instead going for the next phase and then conceding the penalty.
The Brumbies next face their fourth South African opposition in four weeks, hosting the travelling Kings, while the Bulls come home to a bye.
By Richard Ferguson