Waratahs outmuscle Bulls

The Waratahs beat the Bulls 19-12 on Saturday to end their nine-year losing streak against the Pretoria franchise. JON CARDINELLI reports.

The manner of victory was as emphatic. The Waratahs not only beat the Bulls in Sydney, but beat them by playing a combative style of rugby.

The hosts bossed the collisions and breakdowns, and forced the Bulls to defend for long periods. Jacques Potgieter was especially effective and caused his former side a lot of problems at the gainline.

Had the Waratahs taken more of their chances, they would have amassed a significant lead in the first half. As it was, they lost control of the ball at crucial moments and their goal-kickers were guilty of missing several penalty goal attempts.

Somehow the Bulls managed to stay in touch. Flyhalf Jacques-Louis Potgieter kicked two penalties to ensure the visitors trailed by only 13-6 at the break.

Waratahs No 10 Bernard Foley produced a better kicking performance in the second half, and his two penalties stretched the hosts' lead to 10 points. And when Bulls No 8 Grant Hattingh was yellow carded for a dangerous tackle in the 65th minute, the Bulls' chances of snatching an upset diminished.

Replacement flyhalf Handré Pollard kicked a penalty goal in the 78th minute to edge the Bulls within seven points, but ultimately all this did was secure the Pretoria side a losing bonus point. The Waratahs defence denied the Bulls in the final play of the match, with openside Michael Hooper winning the breakdown penalty.

The Bulls have lost three out of three in Australasia, and will finish their tour with a match against the Force next week.

Waratahs – Try: Israel Folau. Conversion: Bernard Foley. Penalties: Foley (4).
Bulls – Penalties: Jacques-Louis Potgieter (3), Handré Pollard.

Waratahs – 15 Israel Folau, 14 Cam Crawford, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Dave Dennis (c), 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Jacques Potgieter, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Will Skelton, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Subs: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Pat McCutcheon, 20 Wycliff Palu, 21 Brendan McKibbin, 22 Jono Lance, 23 Matt Carraro.

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

Flyhalf Jacques-Louis Potgieter kicked well out of hand, and kept the Bulls in the contest with his accurate goal-kicking.

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Match Centre

Photo: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

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Jon Cardinelli