The Queensland Reds were made to pay dearly for their mistakes as the Bulls scored a 33-20 opening round Super 14 victory at Loftus Versfeld earlier today.
AAP reports that the home side scored four tries to two but didn’t have things all their own way in a match they only secured in the last 11 minutes.
Two soft Bulls tries either side of halftime were crucial in the wash-up after underdogs Queensland had overcome a slow start to hold a 6-3 lead and have the momentum late in the first half.
The Reds still fought back from 18-6 down with a superb 55m individual try to Wallabies winger Digby Ioane, Queensland’s best on the night, who split the Bulls defence from a Will Genia flick pass.
But just as the visitors appeared to be regaining the momentum, lock Adam Byrnes was sin-binned for dangerously flying into a ruck and the Bulls pounced while he was off.
Just before Byrnes was due to return, replacement back Burton Francis scored with his first touch of the ball from one of 11 Reds breakdown turnovers.
A dubious off-side penalty against reserve halfback Genia then allowed Bulls playmaker Morne Steyn to seal the match with a 69th minute penalty goal.
Man-of-the-match Pierre Spies ensured a bonus point for the Pretoria-based outfit late in proceedings with the No.8 scoring off a 5m scrum before Ioane set up Peter Hynes for a consolation try on the last play of the match.
Despite going to the top of the Super 14 table, a worrying shoulder injury to Springbok lock Victor Matfield tarnished the Bulls’ celebrations.
The Reds had been unlucky to trail 10-6 at the break after Springbok halfback Fourie du Preez scored an opportunistic 38th-minute try after pressuring opposite number Ben Lucas at the scrum-base.
But the Reds had themselves to blame with the scrum deep inside their 22 coming as a result of two errors, then topped off by Lucas’s inability to clear the ball from a wonky set piece.
The try came against the run of play after a Lucas penalty and Berrick Barnes drop goal had put Queensland in front 6-3 after they had soaked up an initial 15-minute Bulls attacking rampage.
BULLS 33 (Fourie du Preez, Burton Kenvin Francis, Wynand Olivier, Pierre Spies tries Morne Steyn 2 cons 3 pens)
QUEENSLAND REDS 20 (Peter Hynes, Digby Ioane tries Berrick Barnes, Quade Cooper cons Ben Lucas pen Barnes drop goal)Tweet