A little bit Running of the Bulls, A little bit Parting of the Red Sea, didn’t really matter which one you chose, the Reds looked anything other than defending champs as the injuries list grew. Likewise, the Bulls made their re-building tag look silly as they showed their credentials.
The first few minutes were frenetic, played at an incredible pace. Attack and through the hands seemingly the only thing on both teams minds. That spirit continued with the pace barely slowing, until a penalty was awarded within Steyn’s formidable kicking range and he put it over to give the Bulls the lead 3-0
When the Reds received a penalty within kicking range shortly after, Jono Lance wasted no time putting it over to equalise.
Twenty four minutes in and Ben Daley gave away a penalty at scrum time for the crime of putting his hand on the ground during a scrum before resetting his bind. A correct ruling, though surely the least of the world’s scrum problems these days. Regardless, Steyn slotted the 3 points from near halfway to put the Bulls back in front 6-3
Another penalty conceded by the reds inside their 22 shortly after the restart was treated the same way, and it was now 9-3
The attacking mindset suddenly returned when the Bulls, through some great running and moving the ball through the hands came close to breaking the Reds line. They were beaten by the sideline though, and the Reds had a line-out 5m out from their line. The Bulls attacked the lineout, and James Hanson’s throw was called not straight. From the ensuing play, Akona Ndungande came inches away from scoring a try, the TMO ruling he placed the ball short of the line. Mystifyingly, he then advised the referee it was to be a scrum for the Bulls, from that scrum and resulting play, Zane Kirchner went over for a try.
Reds earned a penalty for a late tackle, Jono Lance stepped up for the kick , but couldn’t convert it from a difficult spot.
Right on the half time hooter, the Reds scrum broke the Bulls scum apart and were awarded the penalty. Lance took the shot from the 40 metre line, 15 from the sideline, but couldn’t get it over to leave the scores at oranges at 16-3
The second half saw the Bulls straight onto the offensive, two minutes in it paid dividends with Wynand Olivier on the end of some good short passing to dot down for an early try, the conversion was put over by Steyn making it 23-3
A period of Bulls sustained pressure eventually told with van der Merwe barging over for a try. 30-3
Jono Lance then joined the ranks of the injured Reds backs, seemingly dislocating his ankle, getting it caught awkwardly in a tackle.
The Bulls with the momentum and the Reds with a disrupted backline for the second week in a row, gave Jacques Potgieter all the opportunity and he took it, scoring a pie of his own. The conversion was good making the score 37-3
That woke the Reds, and they realised how much fun using the ball could be. Some good ball movement and continuity eventually paying dividends with Shipperley going over on the end of some good passing. Will Genia missed the conversion and the score was 37-8
Almost immediately the Bulls returned fire and their pressure paid instantly with replacement scrum half Jano Vermaak getting over for the Bulls 5th try, Morne Steyn converted to make the score 44-8
The Bulls earned a penalty right in front, and it may have been the 32 point lead, but for the first time in their history, they elected not to kick the penalty instead kicking for touch. Steyn got an opportunity to kick a goal shortly after though, as from the lineout the Bulls mauled it over the line and CJ Stander at the back put it down for a 5 pointer. The conversion was good from Fouche and the score was 51-8
JJ Engelbrecht popped over for a try from the restart, as the Bulls applied copius salt to the Reds wounds. In a sign the momentum may have been about to shift, the conversion was missed making the score 56-8.
That was a false dawn though, as before I could finish writing that sentence, Bjorn Basson was dotting down for another 5 pointer. The conversion was unsuccessful leaving the score 61-8
Hugh Bladen gave us a “The parting of the Red sea” as right on the 80 minute mark it seemed Arno Botha got the ball down. I thought he got just a little downward pressure before losing the ball, the TMO saw it differently, deeming he lost control before touching down, given the Reds a scrum 5m out.
The clock eventually putting an end to the slaughter, full time saw 61-8 on the scoreboard.
At least it wasn’t 92-3…
Bulls 61 (Try: Kirchner, Olivier, van der Merwe, Potgieter, Vermaak, Stander, Engelbrecht, Basson Con: Steyn 5/5, Fouch 1/3 Pen: Steyn 3/3) def Reds 8 (Try: Shipperley Con: Genia 0/1 Pen: Lance 1/3)