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Slick Bulls finish on a high
Posted on Friday, October 07, 2005 - 21:06
The Vodacom Blue Bulls unwrapped a chocolate box of delights on their way to a 61-10 (halftime 31-10) Absa Currie Cup victory over the outgunned but game Impala Leopards before a bumper 21 000 crowd in Rustenburg on Friday night.

The Bulls belied their reputation for one-dimensional play with some slick training ground moves in the first half as the ball fizzed from hand-to-hand on their way to an eighth win from eight matches in the Premier Division.

Coach Heyneke Meyer rang the changes in the second half as the Bulls were content to close out a won game; but in the first period they played some impressively complete rugby, presenting the ball beautifully for quick phase ball and then moving the defenders around at will at times.

Six of their ten tries came from first phase play as they appeared to give a dress rehearsal to moves that are sure to be rolled out at times in the play-offs and in next season's Super 14.

The Leopards could hold their heads high; they were required to defend for virtually the entire 80 minutes and stuck bravely to their task, making most of their tackles and not conceding a metre without extracting some cost in sweat from the Bulls.

They also scored a fine try when Wynand Olivier uncharacteristically knocked on in the 14th minute and the ball was quickly transferred to right wing Bertus Swanepoel who pounded in from 50 metres against an unprepared Bulls defence.

But it was one-way traffic otherwise from the 93 second when the Bulls scored their first try to the final whistle - it would have been worse for the Leopards too but for an off-night for the Bulls kickers with Morne Steyn missing five conversions and Derick Hougaard one conversion and a penalty from in front.

Fourie du Preez scored the first after multiple phases from a Bulls lineout with Jacques Cronje punching in behind the Leopards defence to open the way to the line.

The second came with a beautiful 40 metre run from Olivier as he cut on the inside shoulder of Steyn to arrow through the Leopards' defence and score just to the left of the posts and Johan Roets scored the first of his two half way out on the right as Anton Leonard and Du Preez went blind from a five-metre scrum to work an opening for the untouched fullback.

The JP Nel took an inside pass from Roets as the Bulls went back to the blindside from the second phase from a line-out to score the fourth try as early as the half hour.

Five minutes before the interval Du Preez scored his second after a long range break out by the Bulls backs in which Nel and Habana combined to put the scrumhalf in for his second.

The second half was much less spectacular although that felt to be more by design than in any shift in the dynamics of the game.

The Bulls scored only one try in the first 20 minutes of the half from a lineout maul finished by Jacques Cronje but then added four in the final quarter; two more form lineout drives and Roets' second as well as a final score try by Morne Steyn.

It was impressive stuff - so impressive in fact that the Bulls played the final two or three minutes with only 12 men on the field as they withdrew their front line men to avoid the possibility of injury.

Scorers:

Leopards - Try: Bertus Swanepoel. Conversion: Naas Olivier. Penalty: Naas Olivier.

Blue Bulls - Tries: Fourie du Preez (2), Johan Roets (2), Jacques Cronje (2), Wynand Olivier, JP Nel, Tim Dlulane, Morne Steyn. Conversions: Morne Steyn (3), Hougaard. Penalty: Hougaard.



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