Bulls fall short in Brisbane
The Reds returned to the victory trail with a deserved 23-18 triumph over the Bulls in their Super Rugby clash in Brisbane on Saturday.
Quade Cooper was the hosts' hero, notching 18 points via a try, two conversion and three penalties.
The Bulls thought they had clinched a draw when JJ Englebrecht went over the Reds' try-line in the dying seconds of the match but the Springbok centre had put a foot in touch in the process.
The opening quarter was a dour affair, restricted mostly to play amongst the forwards, as both sides battled it out in a bid to gain the ascendancy.
Cooper opened the scoring from the kicking tee in the eighth minute but shortly afterwards, Jono Lance was yellow carded for a tip-tackle on Grant Hattingh, which gave Louis Fouché a chance to level the scores.
He succeeded with his spot-kick and put his team in front with another three-pointer, five minutes later but Cooper responded with another penalty in the 35th minute.
The game came alive in the 37th minute thanks to a piece of magic from Cooper. He jinxed his way past three defenders and when he was tackled just short of the line he managed to free his arms and offload to Lance who crashed over for the opening try.
Cooper slotted the conversion and the Reds held a deserved 13-6 lead at half-time.
The Bulls narrowed the gap, shortly after the restart, when Fouché added two penalties within the space of two minutes after first Digby Ioane and then Ed Quirk were penalised.
The Bulls were reduced to 14 men in the 52nd minute when Lionel Mapoe received his marching orders for a tip-tackle on James Slipper.
With a man down, the Bulls struggled and Cooper got in for the Reds' second try two minutes after Mapoe's sending off when he sold Werner Kruger and Jano Vermaak a clever dummy, inside the Bulls' 22, before scoring undr the posts.
Cooper succeeded with the conversion and added another penalty five minutes later after the Bulls were pinned for a scrum infringement.
Morne Steyn came on for Fouché and added another penalty 10 minutes before the end but the Reds managed to cling to their lead until they were given that late scare at the death by Englebrecht's disallowed try.
Tries: Lance, Cooper
Cons: Cooper 2
Pens: Cooper 3
Yellow card: Jono Lance(tip tackle - 23rd minute)
Pens: Fouché 5, Steyn
Yellow card: Lionel Mapoe (tip tackle - 52nd minute)
Reds: 15 Jono Lance, 14 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 13 Anthony Faingaa, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Jarrad Butler, 6 Eddie Quirk, 5 James Horwill (c), 4 Ed O'Donoghue, 3 James Slipper, 2 James Hanson, 1 Greg Holmes.
Replacements: 16 Saia Faingaa, 17 Albert Anae, 18 Rob Simmons, 19 Curtis Browning, 20 Nigel Ah Wong, 21 Nick Frisby, 22 Mike Harris.
Bulls: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Lionel Mapoe, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Louis Fouché, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Pierre Spies (c), 7 Dewald Potgieter, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Morné Mellet.
Replacements:: 16 Willie Wepener, 17 Frik Kirsten, 18 Juandré Kruger, 19 Jacques Potgieter, 20 Ruan Snyman, 21 Morné Steyn, 22 Jan Serfontein.
Referee: James Leckie (Australia)