Bulls bully Rebels at Loftus
The Bulls continued to build on their impressive Super Rugby form as their outscored the Rebels four tries to one.
Adriaan Straus, Jesse Kriel, Divan Rossouw and Andre Warner got their names on the Bulls' scoresheet. While Handre Pollard was flawless with the boot as he registered a 100 percent kicking rate with four successful conversions.
Rebels' try was scored by Michael Ruru. While Jack Debreczeni added a conversion and a penalty to the side's tally.
A tap penalty by substitute Warner eight minutes from time caught Rebels napping in Pretoria and he scored to wrap up a 28-10 win.
While the Australians suffered a third straight defeat after failing to translate territorial and possession dominance during the third quarter into further scores.
Rebels and Bulls remained seventh and eighth respectively in the combined standings, with the result closing the gap between them to two points.
An unforced error placed the Bulls under pressure. The hosts spent the opening period having to defence inside their own 22 after a successful Rebels' line-out.
Fortunately, for John Mitchell's men, their powerfull scrum forced a penalty and they had an opportunity to clear.
After five minutes of play, the Bulls had possession and went 7-0 up. Scrumhalf Ivan van Zyl's pinpoint pass made sure hooker Strauss found a gap to score the first try of the match.
Handre Pollard made sure to add the easy extras.
The Rebels worked hard to get on the scoreboard, however, two missed penalties by Jack Debreczeni kept the visitors scoreless after 15 minutes.
Finally, the Rebels broke their duck as Debreczeni's third penalty attempt found the posts.
Before the break, the Bulls extended their lead with two impressive tries courtesy of Springboks Kriel and wing Rossouw.
Pollard converted both tries for the comfortable 19=-point buffer at the break.
As the second-half commenced the visitors finally broke the Bulls' defence for their first try through Michael Ruru, who stretched over for the five-pointer.
Debreczeni added the extras to trail, 10-21.
The Bulls had trouble breaking through the Rebels defence. But with 8 minutes left on the clock replacement scrumhalf, Warner sealed a bonus-point Super Rugby with a quick tap-and-go for the victory with a quick tap-and-go.
Man of the match: Amanaki Mafi was the highlight in the Rebels side with his strong defensive display. Bulls fullback Warrick Gelant was tremendous on attack, while captain Burger Odendaal impressed the faithful and also had a hand in Jesse Kriel's try. However, our nod goes to Adriaan Strauss. The hooker again opened the Bulls' scoring tally and was vital in the Bulls' decision making. His presence was truly missed in the second half.
Tries: Strauss, Kriel, Rossouw, Warner
Cons: Pollard 4
Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Johnny Kotze, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Burger Odendaal (captain), 11 Divan Rossouw, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Marco van Staden, 7 Thembelani Bholi, 6 Roelof Smit, 5 Lodewyk de Jager, 4 Rudolph Snyman, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Pierre Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Frans van Wyk, 19 Jason Jenkins, 20 Shaun Adendorff, 21 Andre Warner, 22 Manie Libbok, 23 Duncan Matthews.
Melbourne Rebels: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Jack Maddocks, 13 Tom English, 12 Reece Hodge, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Jack Debreczeni, 9 Michael Ruru, 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Angus Cottrell, 6 Ross Haylett-Petty, 5 Adam Coleman (captain), 4 Matt Philip, 3 Sam Talakai, 2 Anaru Rangi, 1 Tetera Faulkner.
Replacements: 16 Jordan Uelese, 17 Fereti Sa'aga, 18 Jermaine Ainsley, 19 Geoff Parling, 20 Richard Hardwick, 21 Harrison Goddard, 22 Billy Meakes, 23 Sefa Naivalu.
Referee: Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Rasta Rasivhenge, AJ Jacobs
TMO: Willie Vos