• Potgieter steers Bulls to big win

    Jacques-Louis Potgieter scored 21 points in the Vodacom Bulls' 38-22 bonus-point win over the Blues on Saturday, reports JON CARDINELLI.

    The Bulls flyhalf has made a marked difference since joining the Pretoria franchise. Potgieter amassed 20 points in the recent win against the Lions and was just as influential in this clash with the Blues.

    And it wasn't just as a goal-kicker that Potgieter impressed. He scored the first try for the hosts after the Bulls scrum had won a heel against the head. The Blues defence was particularly poor, but credit must go to Potgieter for finishing beautifully.

    From there, it seemed as if he couldn't miss when lining up a shot at goal. Potgieter punished the Blues for their transgressions, and the Bulls, as a unit, put paid to the visitors' woeful tackling, scoring two more tries before half-time.

    Shortly after the break, Potgieter extended the lead to 28-12 with another penalty goal. The result appeared to be secured, and all that was left was for the Bulls to push for the four-try bonus point.

    The Blues enjoyed a brief resurgence, with flyhalf Simon Hickey kicking a series of penalties and George Moala scoring a controversial try. The Bulls managed to maintain a nine-point buffer after yet another Potgieter penalty goal, and then launch one final assault.

    The hosts would achieve their bonus-point objective in the final play of the game, with reserve prop Marcel van der Merwe planting the ball on the tryline. The result is a big one for the Bulls, who are now back in the race for the South African conference title.

    Bulls – Tries: Jacques-Louis Potgieter, Jono Ross, Jan Serfontein, Marcel van der Merwe. Conversions: Potgieter (2), Handré Pollard. Penalties: Potgieter (3). Drop goal: Potgieter.
    Blues – Try: George Moala. Conversion: Simon Hickey. Penalties: Hickey (5).

    Bulls – 15 Jürgen Visser, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Jono Ross, 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Flip van der Merwe (c), 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 Dean Greyling.
    Subs: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Morné Mellett , 18 Marcel van der Merwe, 19 Paul Willemse, 20 Jacques Engelbrecht, 21 Piet van Zyl, 22 Handré Pollard, 23 Ulrich Beyers.

    Blues – 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Frank Halai, 13 George Moala, 12 Jackson Willison, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Simon Hickey, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Peter Saili, 7 Luke Braid (c), 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Tom Donnelly, 4 Liaki Moli, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 James Parsons, 1 Tony Woodcock.
    Subs: 16 Tom McCartney, 17 Sam Prattley, 18 Angus Ta'avao, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Brendon O'Connor, 21 Bryn Hall, 22 Chris Noakes, 23 Pita Ahki.

    Photo: Anne Laing/HSM Images

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    Jon Cardinelli