Bulls beat Hurricanes 26-14

Springboks flyhalf Morne Steyn kicked 21 points, including two drop goals, as the Bulls beat the Wellington Hurricanes 26-14 in the Super 15 on Saturday.

Both teams scored one try—the Bulls through winger Francois Hougaard and the Hurricanes through backrower Serge Lilo—but Steyn’s unerring boot separated the teams.

He kicked seven goals from eight attempts while his Wellington opposite Danield Kirkpatrick managed only two penalties from five attempts.

The win was the fourth from six matches this season for the Bulls, lifting them to second place in the South African conference behind the unbeaten Stormers. The Hurricanes are now last in the New Zealand conference with one win from six games.

“We’re very happy about the win tonight. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy,” Bulls captain Victor Mafield said.
“We knew it wasn’t going to be a nice, open game. We had to grind it out and the guys did well.”

The Bulls built their win in the first half when they controlled possession and territory with Steyne kicking three penalties and two drop goals to give them a 15-3 lead by halftime.

“I think that’s what it’s all about. We have the best nine and 10 in the world and they’re kicking well. We used them well tonight, they got us in their half and we scored the points,” Matfield said.

The Hurricanes fought back with a try to Lilo after 45 minutes which cut the lead to 15-8, then a penalty to Kirkpatrick which made the lead 15-11. They had a much greater share of possession in the second half and they attacked desperately, but the Bulls’ defense repelled almost every threat.

Steyn nudged the Bulls ahead 18-11 with his fourth penalty. Aaron Cruden hit back with a penalty for the Hurricanes, then Hougaard scored the try for the Bulls that decided the match.

Center Wynand Olivier made a brilliant midfield break and linked with Hougaard, who scored untouched.

“Well done. Wynand cut the line brilliantly and Francois managed to finish it off, so we’re very happy with that,” Matfield said. “They were really coming back and they were fighting to the end.”

The Bulls now face the Canterbury Crusaders in their second match of an exacting road trip. The Crusaders are riding a four-match winning streak, which includes last week’s convincing win over the Sharks in London.

“The Crusaders are a team who are in form at the moment but, again, we’ll enjoy tonight and think about them on Monday again,” Matfield said.

Steyn pushed the Bulls ahead on Saturday with a penalty after two minutes and a drop goal after 12. He added his second penalty after 15 minutes, then a second drop goal for a 12-0 lead in the 23rd mninute. His third penalty five minutes later put the Bulls ahead 15-0. Wellington’s only points of the first half came from Kirkpatrick’s penalty in the 34th minute.

Lilo’s 45th-minute try pulled the Hurricanes into the match and they were in a strong position when Kirkpatrick kicked his second penalty in the 58th minute to cut the lead to four points.

Steyn again pushed the Bulls ahead and Hougaard’s try clinched an important win. - Sapa-AP

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