Sad homecoming for Bulls

The Crusaders spoilt the Bulls’ homecoming when they thrashed them 54-19 in their Super 14 encounter played at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Friday. The visitors ran in a deluge of seven tries as opposed to the solitary one scored by the Bulls in the dying minutes.

It was the Bulls’ first game back at their home ground since winning the title, and for the Crusaders this was the very ground where their campaign ended last year when they lost to the Bulls in the semifinal. They exacted their revenge mercilessly, which left the near-40 000 strong crowd in awe.

It was the Bulls who started off the blocks with intent, rushing to a 12-0 lead through four Derick Hougaard penalties.
The Crusaders hit back in the 31st minute when Stephen Brett crashed over for the opening try of the match.

Three minute later, Crusaders flyhalf Daniel Carter added another three points before Andrew Ellis scored the Crusaders’ second try in the 38th minute, which also gave the visitors a 17-12 lead going into the half-time interval.

In the second half, the Crusaders continued from where they had left off and came close to breaching the Bulls’ defensive lines in the 43rd minute, but hooker Corey Flynn dropped the ball with the try line beckoning.

Three minutes later, Richie McCaw was on hand to drive over the Bulls’ line and double the Crusaders’ lead to 24-12.

The Bulls were dealt a blow when flank Deon Stegmann was shown a yellow card for committing a professional foul and the Crusaders capitalised, scoring 11 points in the 10 minutes Stegmann was out.

In the 65th minute and with the match wrapped up, debutant Nasi Manu scored a try that was soon followed by a Carter try before the Bulls scored their consolation try through a Crusaders error in the 75th minute.

Leon MacDonald closed the Crusaders’ account in the 77th minute with an opportunistic try to attain the half-century mark and leave the champions’ backs broken.—Sapa

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