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19 May 2013 12:21
Lionel Mapoe of the Blue Bulls is tackled by Colin Slade of the Highlanders during the Super Rugby match at Loftus. (Gallo)
The Pretoria-based side took the full compliment of points from the match to secure second place on the overall log.
Bulls captain Pierre Spies, who scored a try in his 100th Super Rugby match for the Bulls, said he was particularly satisfied with the result following a bye.
"The important thing for us was to get back on the horse this week as you never know how you might respond after an off week," he said.
"We had to fight hard to get these four tries but we are very happy with the result.
"We stuck to the process, there were mistakes here and there but the guys worked very hard."
Spies scored his side's third try in the 46th minute of the match and the Highlanders made it difficult for the Bulls to secure the try-scoring bonus point.
Their fourth try only came shortly before the end of the encounter when the in-form Jano Vermaak crossed the whitewash.
Spies praised his troops for their defensive effort as they held the Highlanders from their tryline for most of the match.
The Bulls skipper said the win would stand the team in good stead as it demanded an 80 minute effort to walk away with maximum points.
"It is very encouraging to get the result in this way and the team will take a lot from this," he said.
"It gives you a lot of confidence and we work hard on the processes. We had to work hard for the four tries as it doesn't just happen."
While Bulls coach Frans Ludeke was happy with the result, he believed the performance was far from flawless.
"We weren't accurate, a lot of passes went to ground, so it is not good," Ludeke said.
"We weren't as clinical as in other games but it is a result and if you can win this way after a bye, you'll take it any day."
Closing the gap
With two minutes left in the opening half, the Highlanders looked set to close the gap on the Bulls but the hosts scored a long haul try from a turnover.
Ludeke believed this try shortly before the half-time break swung the momentum firmly in the Bulls' favour.
"Credit to the Highlanders as they never go away, they were there the whole game which shows the pride and character they have in the side," he said.
"There were no easy tries and just before half-time they were on their way chipping away and our defence held them out.
"Then we scored a 60 metre try and I think it was a momentum swing for us in the game and I think points at the end of the day were vital."
The Bulls will travel to Durban next week to face the Sharks, who showed grit to pull off a victory in their last match on tour with a 23-13 win over the Western Force on Friday.
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