VIDEO: Crusaders battle past Bulls
SUPER RUGBY REPORT: Crusaders bounce back from two-game losing streak with a hard-fought 33-14 win over the Bulls at Christchurch.
The win could not come at the better time for the defending champions Crusaders who have lost their last two matches to New Zealand rivals the Highlanders and Hurricanes - a record they last suffered five years ago.
Meanwhile, the defeat means that Bulls head home winless after three consecutive defeats on their Australasia tour. the Pretoria-based side will face a tough South African derby at home against Stormers next week.
It also means the Crusaders have not lost to the Bulls in Christchurch since 1996, a sequence that now extends to 11 consecutive home wins.
The Crusaders outscored the Bulls five tries to two in wet and cold conditions at Christchurch.
Bulls dominated the opening minutes of the match with 92 percent possession they forced the Crusaders to concede four penalties. However, the Bulls failed to finish the attack and remained scoreless after repeatedly opting to run the ball rather than take three points.
After soaking up 15 minutes of pressure, the home side then scored off their first meaningful attack when Scott Barrett crossed after a lineout drive.
Referee Federico Anselmi initially ruled Barrett had not grounded the ball properly but the television match official overturned the decision and awarded the points.
Crusaders prop Tim Perry was sin-binned for a high tackle, but that did not halt the Crusaders' momentum as Codie Taylor extended the lead from another lineout drive.
Bulls were finally rewarded for their brave work when a brilliant individual effort by Travis Ismaiel got the wing past three defenders and over the try line.
Just before the break, centre, Jack Goodhue restored the Crusaders' 14-point buffer got when he got his name on the score sheet as he sneaked past Tim Agaba for a try. Hunt added the extras for the 21-7 lead.
Bulls did all the playing while Crusdaes score all the tries - that has been the theme of the match, and in the second half it was no different.
As soon s the Crusaders gained possession the centre then scored his second try eight minutes after the restart, going under the posts after a penalty put the Crusaders on attack.
Marco van Staden closed the gap for the Bulls but Crusaders wing George Bridge immediately hit back to secure the bonus point.
Man of the Match: The Bulls' performance was promising with solid individual performances from people like Travis Ismail and Handre Pollard. The Crusaders' usual suspects like Sam Whitelock, Ryan Crotty, Codie Taylor and Scott Barrett were in good form. However, our nod goes to centre Jack Goodhue.
Tries: Barrett. Taylor, Goodhue 2, Bridge
Cons: Hunt 4
Tries: Ismaiel, Van Staden
Cons: Pollard 2
Yellow card: Tim Perry (Crusaders, 25 - High tackle)
Crusaders: 15 David Havili, 14 Manasa Mataele, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 George Bridge, 10 Mitchell Hunt, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8,Jordan Taufua, 7 Billy Harmon, 6 Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, 5 Samuel Whitelock(captain), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Tim Perry
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Oliver Jager, 19 Quinten Strange, 20 Tom Sanders, 21 Bryn Hall, 22 Brett Cameron, 23 Braydon Ennor,
Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Burger Odendaal (captain), 11 Divan Rossouw, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Embrose Papier, 8 Tim Agaba, 7 Hanro Liebenberg, 6 Roelof Smit, 5 Lodewyk de Jager, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Pierre Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Frans van Wyk, 19 Hendre Stassen, 20 Marco van Staden, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 Manie Libbok, 23 Johnny Kotze.
Referee: Federico Anselmi (Argentina)
Assistant referees: Nick Briant (New Zealand), Richard Kelly (New Zealand)
TMO: Aaron Paterson (New Zealand)
Agence France-Presse & rugby365com