Bulls battle past Jaguares
SUPER RUGBY REPORT: The Bulls secured their second Super Rugby victory after a hard-fought 26-13 win against the Jaguares at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
The Bulls bounced back from last week's terrible 20-21 defeat against the Sunwolves. It was not the most clinical performance from Nollis Marais' men but they did enough to edge the Jaguares.
The Springbok flyhalf Handre Pollard converted tries by wing Trevor Ismaiel and lock Lood de Jager and slotted four penalties in a flawless goal-kicking performance.
Flyhalf Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias converted a try by scrumhalf Gonzalo Bertranou and kicked two penalties for the South Americans.
Bulls led 13-3 at half-time in a scrappy round eight match at Loftus Versfeld stadium that provided little entertainment for a small Easter holiday crowd
The result was far more important for the hosts than the manner in which it was achieved after a humiliating loss to the lowly Sunwolves in Tokyo last weekend.
"We desperately needed a win after a disappointing tour to New Zealand and Japan," said Bulls hooker and former Springboks captain Adriaan Strauss.
"This result will bring some joy back to the team, even if we did not perform at our best.
"I was happy to see more width in our play, but we need to get over the advantage line more often and retain possession for longer periods."
Jaguares lock Guido Petti said: "The Bulls were a very aggressive side and we learnt a lot from playing them.
"Our aim is to keep improving and try to qualify for the knockout stage of the competition this season."
Victory moved the Bulls up one place to second in the Africa One conference, 16 points behind runaway leaders Stormers.
Jaguares remain third in the Africa Two standings, nine points adrift of leaders the Lions and three behind second-place the Sharks.
With Stormers and Lions looking likely conference winners, the Sharks and Jaguares are set to fight for the best runners-up slot which secures a quarter-finals place.
Pollard and Iglesias exchanged first-quarter penalties before Ismaiel scrambled over the line after a break by scrum Piet van Zyl.
Another penalty from Pollard, who missed all of last season through injury, gave the Bulls a 13-3 half-time advantage.
Pollard slotted his third penalty on 44 minutes to stretch the lead before the Jaguares scored 10 points during their best spell.
Bertranou claimed a try and Iglesias kicked the conversion and a penalty to narrow the Bulls lead to 16-13 just before the hour.
But the Buenos Aires outfit could not sustain the momentum and a De Jager try and a conversion and penalty from Pollard left the Bulls comfortable winners.
Man of the match: There was glimpse of the familiar Handre Pollard making an appearance which delighted the Loftus crowd, the flyhalf had a 100 percent kicking success rate. However our man of the match goes to Jessie Kriel, the fullback forced his way through Jaguares' defence with amazing clean breaks.
Tries: Ismaiel, De Jager
Cons: Pollard 2
Pens: Pollard 4
Con: Gonzales Iglesias
Pens: Gonzales Iglesias 2
Yellow card: Gonzales Iglesias (Jaguares, 39 - high tackle)
Bulls: 15 Jesse Kriel, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jan Serfontein, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Hanro Liebenberg, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Nick de Jager, 5 Lodewyk de Jager, 4 Rudolph Snyman, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Pierre Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Martin Dreyer, 19 Jason Jenkins, 20 Marnus Schoeman, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Tian Schoeman, 23 Warrick Gelant.
Jaguares: 15 Joaquin Tuculet, 14 Santiago Cordero, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Jeronimo De La Fuente, 11 Emiliano Boffelli, 10 Santiago Gonzales Iglesias, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Rodrigo Baez, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Marcos Kremer, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Agustin Creevy (captain), 1 Lucas Noguera.
Replacements: 16 Roberto Tejerizo, 17 Santiago Garcia Botta, 18 Enrique Pieretto, 19 Benjamin Macome, 20 Tomas Lezana, 21 Felipe Ezcurra, 22 Nicolas Sanchez, 23 Ramiro Moyano.
Referee: Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Angus Gardner (Australia), Egon Seconds (South Africa)
TMO: Willie Vos (South Africa)