WATCH: Rebels are slammed for 'slow-motion' game
Quick-thinking Bulls scrumhalf Adrian Warner sealed a bonus-point victory over Melbourne Rebels at the weekend.
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, the third in a row by the South Africans.
Tries by Adriaan Strauss, Jesse Kriel and Divan Rossouw gave Bulls a 21-3 half-time lead, before the Rebels scored through Michael Ruru to leave 11 points between the teams on 47 minutes.
However, the Australians suffered a third straight defeat after failing to translate territorial and possession dominance during the third quarter into further scores.
The win leaves the Bulls second in the South African conference and eighth overall – well-placed to challenge for a play-off spot.
The Bulls' New Zealand coach John Mitchell pulled no punches when quizzed about the Rebels' tactics of slowing the game down to a walking pace.
Mitchell said that 'sometimes you have to win ugly' and commended his players for the composure they showed in the face of the negative tactics.
"[It was] clearly a strategic move by the opposition to slow the game down," the New Zealander said.
"I'm not sure SANZAAR needs a product like that," Mitchell said.
It certainly wasn't our doing and it is amazing, it might have suited a Bulls team of old," he said, adding that the numerous stoppages did not suit his team.
"[There was ] 48 minutes running time first half and 52 minutes second half," he said of a game that appeared to play out in slow-motion.
"If the game is going to head in that direction, then it's totally negative."
Asked if he was disappointed how referee Ben O'Keefe handled the Rebels' tactics, Mitchell opted to rather commend his players for not getting frustrated at the Rebels' negative tactics.
"I'm actually not sure whether to judge Ben at all, because I'm not sure what the game constitutes or the protocols that exist.
"Is that law? It is certainly not a presentable fabric of this awesome game in a way that it can be played," Mitchell added.
"I think the whole [SANZAAR] panel will take a good look at it.
"Like with us, there is a lot of emotion after a performance. But we will take the five points.
"We got there in a difficult way, in a very challenging way and like I said, I commend the guys for the way they didn't let their frustration get to them. And we kept them to 10, which is awesome.
"We put some very good line speed on them. I don't think we were terrific in the tackle, but some weeks you don't get it right and you've just got to hang in there right to the end and that is where the guys need to be given credit."
The Rebels will face the Stormers in Cape Town on Friday, while the Bulls host the high-flying Highlanders this coming Saturday at Loftus Versfeld.