The Brumbies were taught a lesson in converting opportunities and had their faint Super 14 rugby finals hopes extinguished as they crashed 28-17 to the Bulls in Pretoria early today.
RugbyHeaven Aus reports that the resurgent Bulls scored three tries to two in notching their third straight win, while the Brumbies remained eighth and finally lost any mathematical hope of making the top four.
The Australian team played against 14 men for 20 minutes and had the bulk of possession in the game, but failed to capitalise.
The visitors were outscored when fullback Zane Kirchner was sin-binned by referee Steve Walsh for a dangerous tackle on young winger Afusipa Taumoepeau in the 20th minute and held 3-3 after the 31st minute, while hooker Derick Kuhn was binned for a breakdown infringement.
“Steve (Walsh) gave us a bit of a leg up there, unfortunately we didn’t take advantage of it,” Brumbies captain and centre Stirling Mortlock said in his post-match TV interview.
“Full credit to the Bulls they turned up to play tonight and we knew they would be tough and they were too good.”
The home team led 18-10 at the break.
The Bulls posted points on four of their first five visits to the Brumbies 22, while the away team failed to make the most of their first half possession and territory advantages.
It was a different story in the second half when the South Africans controlled play for the most part, with the Brumbies launching the occasional breakout.
“Our execution let us down tonight we created a lot of opportunities, we had a lot of possession,” Mortlock said.
“Unfortunately just handling errors and errors at the breakdown let us down “We knew they would come out firing in the first 15 or so, we felt that at the back end of the first half they were struggling a bit, probably on the back of having two guys off.
“It was a tough game, very physical. I think both teams are pretty bruised and battered.”
Centre JP Nel crossed after just four minutes and a penalty to five-eighth Morne Steyn gave the Bulls an 8-0 lead.
A converted try to lock Alister Campbell, who scored in the passage of play following Kirchner’s offence, cut the deficit to one point.
Flanker and skipper Wikus van Heerden scored a try converted by Steyn, who added a penalty to put the Bulls 15-7 up.
Mortlock kicked a penalty from the offence which resulted in Kunn being sin-binned, but a further Steyn penalty gave the Bulls their eight-point halftime buffer.
Steyn kicked a penalty and converted a Wynand Olivier try to give the Bulls an unassailable 28-10 advantage before a converted try to replacement Brumbies lock Peter Kimlin completed the scoring.
BULLS 28 (JP Nel, Wikus van Heerden, Wynand Olivier tries; Morne Steyn 3 pens 2 cons)
BRUMBIES 17 (Alister Campbell, Peter Kimlin tries; Stirling Mortlock pen 2 cons)