St.George Queensland Reds lose to Bulls in Pretoria

Apr 13 • General News, Super Rugby • 1245 Views • Comments Off on St.George Queensland Reds lose to Bulls in Pretoria

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Despite dominating possession and collecting a four-try bonus point, the St.George Queensland Reds have fallen 43-22 to the Bulls in a high-scoring Asteron Life Super Rugby clash played in Pretoria early Sunday morning Queensland time. The Reds trailed 24-5 at half time.

The Reds’ four tries were scored by Nick Frisby, Lachie Turner, Will Genia and replacement Marco Kotze. Turner added one conversion. 

The Bulls’ tries were scored by Marcel van der Merwe, Piet van Zyl, Burger Odendaal, captain Pierre Spies and a double to Francois Hougaard. Jaccques-Louis Potgieter added three conversions and a penalty with Tian Schoeman also landing two conversions.  

Reds head coach Richard Graham said: “The effort of the group was very good however we were probably guilty of playing too much rugby in the first half and not capitalising on a number of opportunities we created. Unfortunately two of their first half tries were long range from our own turnovers and the third from a high ball which we couldn’t control.

“The group was confident of turning things around in the second half due to the amount of possession and position we had. We changed a few things and started the second half really well with a high tempo and points. 

“From 24–5 down at half time to 29–22 down 15 minutes later we had some momentum, however failure to execute a few plays and some key moments allowed them to regain control.

“The Bulls have a tried and tested formula. It is simple, methodical and effective. It is about creating pressure and we didn’t handle that well enough on a number of occasions tonight.

“To score four tries at Loftus is a good achievement and usually enough to win the game. However to concede six and in the manner we did is disappointing. It is something we will need to address this week in the lead up to the Cheetahs.”

Conditions were perfect at Loftus Versfeld at kick-off on a cool, dry night with the temperature at 18 degrees.

The Bulls took an early 10-0 lead after a penalty goal to Potgieter and a long-range try to Hougaard.

The Reds however hit back on 16 minutes with a superb try. Frisby tried a chip-kick to pierce the Bulls fast rushing defence, but this time the bounce favoured the visitors and the Reds’ flyhalf re-gathered before sending a bouncing pass out to Lachie Turner who sprinted over to score wide on the right. 

Turner missed his conversion attempt but the Reds were right back in it at 10-5.

The Bulls hit back immediately after they re-gathered an up and under and Spies sprinted away to score. Potgieter’s conversion made it 15-5 on 20 minutes.

Despite mounting considerable pressure on the Bulls line, Queensland conceded another long-range try on 35 minutes after Hougaard stripped the ball away from captain James Slipper and sprinted away. Potgieter added the extras to make it 24-5.

Queensland started the second half strongly and after a powerful scrum from the dominant Reds pack 20 metres out from the Bulls line, scrumhalf Will Genia darted away and broke through the defence to score under the posts on 46 minutes. Turner’s conversion made 24-12.

Ben Daley then came on for captain Slipper, wearing his latest “Be Great, Do Good” headgear, this week in support of Uthando House – an orphanage in South Africa dedicated to children who are victims of abuse.

It got even better for the Reds just three minutes later when some slick ball movement saw Kerevi and Gill charge close to the Bulls line, before a pinpoint grubber from Genia was collected by Frisby to score his sixth Super Rugby try. The missed conversion meant the Reds trailed 24-17.

But Thomson was yellow carded for pulling down a maul close to the line soon after and the Reds conceded another try to Marcel van der Merwe on 54 minutes. Replacement Schoeman’s conversion attempt was unsuccessful.

But the Reds again hit back almost immediately. Replacement Ben Tapuai popped a neat pass to Kerevi who broke three tacklers on a searing 70-metre run downfield. He was stopped just short but managed to lay the ball back to Kotze who dove over after 57 minutes. Turner again was unsuccessful with the conversion but it was back to 31-22.

Burger Odendaal scored soon after to give the Bulls some breathing space and a try to Piet van Zyl and conversion to Schoeman completed the scoring. 

The Reds continued to attack in the final minutes, with Kerevi again prominent, but they could not add to their four-try haul. There was time however for Reds Elite Development Squad member Adam Korczyk to make his debut off the bench, incredibly the Reds 13th debutant this season.

Reds lock Dave McDuling suffered a knee injury during the match and will return home to Brisbane for treatment. McDuling will be replaced by James Horwill, who will join the team in Johannesburg for training as soon as possible.

The Reds now move on to Bloemfontein where they take on the Cheetahs early next Sunday morningQueensland time.

ASTERON LIFE SUPER RUGBY

ROUND 9

ST GEORGE QUEENSLAND REDS 22 (Lachie Turner, Nick Frisby, Will Genia, Marco Kotze tries; Turner conversion) lost to BULLS 43 (Francois Hougaard 2, Pierre Spies, Marcel van der Merwe, Piet van Zyl, Burger Odendaal tries; Jacques-Louis Potgieter penalty, 3 conversions, Tian Schoeman 2 conversions) at Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria. (Half Time: Reds 5 Bulls 24) (Referee: Jaco Peyper [SA])

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