Bulls go down to Waratahs
Israel Folau made a try-scoring return for the Waratahs as they secured a 19-12 victory over the Bulls in Sydney on Saturday.
The match was a tough and physical encounter and the victory is a momentous result for the Waratahs as it is the first time in nine years that they have beaten the men from Pretoria.
The game got off to a breathtaking start when Folau scored the only try of the match after just 28 seconds.
The Wallaby full-back, who was playing his first match for the Waratahs after spending three weeks on the sidelines with a throat injury, was the beneficiary of superb work from Kurtley Beale and Adam Ashley-Cooper, in the build-up to the try.
Beale ran into space and offloaded to Ashley-Cooper, who drew in two defenders, before popping a pass to the on-rushing Folau, who scored under the posts.
Bernard Foley converted and the home side's dominance continued during the early exchanges. Folau in particular looked dangerous with ball in hand but his influence would diminish as the game progressed.
The Waratahs thought they had another try, when a telling break from Folau set up Sekope Kepu to go over the try-line but referee Rohan Hoffmann disallowed the effort as there was obstruction from his team-mates which opened a gap for the prop.
Hoffmann called them back for an earlier infringement and Foley kicked an easy place-kick to give the home side a 10-0 lead. Three minutes later it was 13-0 when Foley succeeded with another penalty after Ulrich Beyers was penalised for a ruck infringement.
The Bulls' indiscipline - especially at the breakdowns continued - continued and they conceded several further penalties as the match progressed. foley had another opportunity to extend the hosts' lead, in the 34th minute, but his penalty attempt was wide of the mark.
The visitors then came back strongly towards the end of the opening half and Jacques-Louis Potgieter added two penalties shortly before half-time which meant the Waratahs led 13-6 at the interval.
After the break, there was greater urgency from the Bulls on attack. They came close to scoring, on a couple of occasions, but the Waratahs did well on defence and managed to prevent the visitors from scoring a try for the full 80 minutes.
Potgieter narrowed the gap to four points, however, with another penalty, in the 46th minute, after the 'Tahs' back-line was penalised for offside play inside their 22.
The visitors seemed rejuvenated and launched several attacks inside the Waratahs' half but had little to show for their efforts. Foley then landed his third penalty in the 62nd minute, after Jono Ross transgressed at a ruck, to give his side some breathing space.
Things went from bad to worse for the Bulls when they were reduced to 14 men in the 65th minute. Grant Hattingh was the culprit, after executing a high tackle on Michael Hooper, and Foley added a three-pointer from the resulting penalty to give his side a 19-9 lead.
With time running out for the Bulls Potgieter was replaced by Handré Pollard but all he could do was secure the visitors bonus-point for losing by less than seven points via a penalty in the 78th minute.
Pens: Foley 4
Pens: Potgieter 3, Pollard
Yellow Card: Hattingh (65th minute, high tackle)
Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Cam Crawford, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Dave Dennis (captain), 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Jacques Potgieter, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Will Skelton, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Pat McCutcheon, 20 Wycliff Palu, 21 Brendan McKibbin, 22 Jono Lance, 23 Matt Carraro
Bulls: 15 Ulrich Beyers, 14 Bjorn Basson, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Francois Hougaard, 10 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Grant Hattingh, 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Jono Ross, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Flip van der Merwe (captain), 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 Dean Greyling.
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Marcel van der Merwe, 18 Morné Mellett, 19 Paul Willemse, 20 Jacques Engelbrecht, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Handré Pollard, 23 William Small-Smith
Referee: Rohan Hoffmann (Australia)