The Vodacom Bulls could not match the try scoring ability of the Sunwolves and ultimately lost 42-37 (halftime 14-21) at a hot and humid National Stadium in Singapore on Saturday afternoon.
The Sunwolves shocked the visitors early on as they scored two tries courtesy of flyhalf Hayden Parker and scrumhalf Keisuke Uchida. Parker converted both to hand his charges a 14-0 lead.
The Bulls slowly gained ascendancy in terms of possession and territory with the pressure eventually paying off as outside centre Jesse Kriel scored a brace with flyhalf Handrè Pollard converting both to level the scores.
Both of Kriel’s efforts were made possible by the mistakes of former Bulls player, Gerhard van den Heever, with the latter having his clearance kick charged down by Kriel who gathered it to score while a botched quick lineout by Van den Heever bounced between two players before Kriel swooped in to bag his second.
Pollard was the man to take the lead with minutes remaining of the first half as a sudden shift in direction opened a gap that allowed him to canter in for a converted try with the visitors holding on to a 21-14 lead at the break.
Pollard made it a ten point margin moments after the match resumed as he kicked a penalty goal and would go on to kick a further two penalties in the second half.
Credit must be given to the home team as they continued to be a nuisance for the Bulls in the sweltering heat and they responded to Pollard’s initial penalty goal with Van den Heever going over for a converted try.
It would be a see-saw affair for both teams in the final quarter of the match with prop Conraad van Vuuren benefiting from exceptional linking play to crash over before flank Willie Brits pulled back a try for the Sunwolves and thus atoning for his yellow card in the first half.
Pollard converted two penalty attempts on either side of inside centre Michael Little’s converted five pointer which saw the lead exchange hands twice.
The Sunwolves tenacious attitude throughout the entire match would eventually pay dividends as replacement loose forward Raboni Warren-Vosayaco crossed the whitewash in the 75th minute. Parker added the extras with the Sunwolves defending the 42-37 lead until the final whistle.
Sunwolves – Tries: Hayden Parker, Keisuke Uchida, Gerhard van den Heever, Willie Britz, Michael Little, Raboni Warren-Vosayaco; Conversions: Parker (6).
Vodacom Bulls – Tries: Jesse Kriel (2), Handre Pollard, Conraad van Vuuren; Conversions: Pollard (3); Penalties: Pollard (3).