Rugby: Bulls beat Stormers 19-16 to extend winning streak
Published: 7:45AM Sunday June 12, 2011 Source: Reuters
The Bulls chalked up a sixth straight victory after beating the Stormers 19-16 in an all-South African Super rugby match at Newlands this morning.
A scrappy affair came to life in the last 15 minutes when Bulls scrumhalf Francois Hougaard swooped on an errant lineout throw and shrugged off an attempted tackle before sprinting 35 metres for the game's first try and his fourth this season.
The converted try helped the Bulls into a 16-6 lead before Stormers replacement flyhalf Dewaldt Duvenage and Bulls pivot Morne Steyn traded penalties.
The Stormers narrowed the gap to three points with a minute left when lock Andries Bekker barged his way over and wing Bryan Habana then had a chance to win the match moments later before he was tackled by the last defender in the 22-metre area.
The victory moved the defending champion Bulls to 53 points and fifth in the overall standings ahead of the Sharks, thanks to more wins than their compatriots, and second in the South African conference, five points behind the Stormers.
"We knew it wasn't going to be pretty but we ground the win out," Bulls captain Victor Matfield said in a television interview.
The first quarter was a frenetic but untidy affair with both teams struggling to impose themselves and after 25 minutes the score was 3-3 with Steyn and his opposite number Kurt Coleman trading penalties.
The Bulls were dominating territory and possession but the normally reliable Steyn missed two penalties and an attempted drop goal as the visitors failed to capitalise on an error-strewn performance from the hosts.
In the first half alone the Stormers produced 10 handling errors and conceded five turnovers.
Steyn finally edged his team into the lead on the stroke of halftime thanks to a long-range penalty.
The Stormers began the second-half in a far more positive frame of mind and Duvenage levelled the scores with a 51st minute penalty.
But the Bulls regained the lead thanks to Steyn's third penalty before the match finally produced some excitement.
"It is so disappointing. It was a big match for us and we weren't good enough," Stormers skipper Schalk Burger said.
"In the last 10 minutes we played like we should have for the full 80," he added.
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