The Bulls are South Africa’s best team and they proved it in Bloemfontein.
The Cheetahs have been outstanding all season and they were as good on Saturday night as they have been at any stage. Still it wasn’t good enough to beat the Bulls, who won 30-25 after leading 30-13 with 10 minutes to play.
The Cheetahs finished brilliantly and deserved the bonus point, but the Bulls consolidated their top two league placing thanks to an imposing first hour.
Pierre Spies was impressive as team and pack leader, Arno Botha was ever present and the No 9, 10, 12 Bulls axis of Francois Hougaard, Morne Steyn and Jan Serfontein impressed individually and as a unit.
Willie le Roux, true to form, provided the individual brilliance and Heinrich Brussouw, Andries Strauss and Lappies Labuschagne were again very good.
Both teams defended as if this was a final and both were prepared to risk on attack.
This was a great advertisement for South African rugby, but the better team won.
And in the context of the league, if South Africa is to win this year’s tournament, the right team took the four league points.
Cheetahs – Tries: Willie le Roux, Riaan Smit, Trevor Nyakane. Conversions: Smit (2). Penalties: Smit (2).
Bulls – Tries: Werner Kruger, Deon Stegmann, Jano Vermaak. Conversions: Morné Steyn (3). Penalties: Steyn (3).
More to follow …