VIDEO: Penalties win it for the Reds
SUPER RUGBY MATCH REPORT: It was, it must be said, a match devoid of sparkle. It seemed to take an age, a tedious age.
In the early part of the match, the Bulls had possession and kicked a lot. One wished the old mark, that could be made all over the field, would be allowed back to end the meaningless monotony of box kicks.
That said, there were two brilliant tries in the match, one in each half, made all the more wonderful by their drab background.
Then, having been given possession, the Reds used short phases - little-one pass-and-take-the-tackle things up towards 20 at session - hardly expiring activities. But they took their possession stat from very little to well over 90%.
The penalty count did not help the Bulls at all - 14 against to six for. In the second half, the count was 6-1, the 1 coming just before the end. Then when you kick one out a short distance and one not out at all, you are not playing reasonable rugby.
One of the severe problems was the scrummaging. It started well for the Bulls but lasted only for one scrum. There were 17 scrums in the match, and the Bulls were penalised five times. These are nowhere near the bullying Bulls of old.
The Bulls, wearing yellow jerseys, blue shorts and white socks - oranje, blanje, blou - kicked off and won the ball back and had a great 20 minutes or so, in which they scored two tries.
The first try came after the Bulls kicked a penalty out five metres from the Reds' line. They mauled and then gave to the backs where Jesse Kriel and gave to unmarked Warrick Gelant who had Duncan Matthews unmarked on his left. Gelant scored and Handré Pollard converted. 7-0.
The Reds started getting back into the match after they destroyed a Bulls' scrum. That gave the Reds a five-metre scrum. On advantage, they attacked and prop Taniela Tupou was over the line but scrumhalf David Warner, brilliant, held him up.
At the scrum, the Reds were freekicked for not hooking, and the Bulls were relieved to kick the ball out. But from the line-out, Jono Lance ran and the Reds enjoyed phased attacks till the Bulls were offside and James Tuttle goaled. 7-3 after 23 minutes.
The next try started in unpromising fashion with a heavy tackle on Mathews. But Warner got the ball and threw a long was out to Travis Ismaiel who was five metres outside his own 22 on the right. Ismaiel accelerated between two tight forwards and raced ahead. Johnny Kotze came inside him, took a pass and have further inside to Warner who scored. 14-4 after 26 minutes.
The score seemed to inject greater energy into the Queenslanders and their possession and territory became more favourable and eventually dominant.
After several short phases, No.8 Caleb Timu had an overlap and galloped over for a try, which Tuttle converted 14-10 after 36 minutes.
That was the half-time score.
The Bulls won a turnover and kicked.
The Bulls had 15 phases and knocked on.
From their own 22, the Bulls kicked downfield. Filipo Daugunu fielded the ball on his own 10-metre line and raced downfield with great determination. He gave infield to hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa who immediately gave to fullback Aidan Toua who raced for a try under the posts, and the Reds led 17-14 after 46 minutes.
The next score, the only other score in the match, was a penalty goal half an hour later. Till the last few minutes, the Reds looked more likely to score with an attacking line-out and two five-metre scrums. But their only score was a penalty goal when Marnitz Boshoff tackled Samu Kerevi high and Lance goaled.
From their only penalty in the second half, the Bulls had a line-out and bashed at the Reds, getting closer as they went from left to right. They came back left but Lood de Jager lost the ball and the Reds won.
Man of the Match: The Reds' front row that took over the scrummaging - James Slipper, Brandon Paenga-Amosa and Taniela Tupou.
Tries: Timu, Toua
Cons: Tuttle 2
Pens: Tuttle, Lance
Tries: Gelant, Warner
Cons: Pollard 2
Reds: 15 Aidan Toua, 14 Filipo Daugunu, 13 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Eto Nabuli, 10 Jono Lance, 9 James Tuttle, 8 Caleb Timu, 7 Liam Wright, 6 Adam Korczyk, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 James Slipper (captain).
Replacements: 16 Alex Mafi, 17 JP Smith, 18 Sef Fa'agase, 19 Harry Hockings, 20 Angus Scott-Young, 21 Tate McDermott, 22 Hamish Stewart, 23 Duncan Paia'aua.
Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Johnny Kotze, 11 Duncan Matthews, 10 Handre Pollard (captain), 9 Andre Warner, 8 Nick de Jager, 7 Hanro Liebenberg, 6 Roelof Smit, 5 Lodewyk de Jager, 4 Rudolph Snyman, 3 Frans van Wyk, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Pierre Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Jason Jenkins, 20 Marco van Staden, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Marnitz Boshoff, 23 Divan Rossouw.
Referee: Jamie Nutbrown (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: William Houston (Australia), Graham Cooper (Australia)
TMO: Damien Mitchelmore (Australia)