Super Rugby: Waratahs beat Bulls 19-12
SYDNEY (AP) — The New South Wales Waratahs beat the Bulls for the first time in nine years as they held on for a 19-12 result in Super Rugby on Saturday.
Victory lifted the Waratahs above the Western Force into fourth overall in the standings, while the Pretoria-based Bulls failed to win a fourth straight match. Since giving South African rival the Sharks their only loss, the Bulls have drawn with the defending champion Chiefs and lost three straight on their tour of New Zealand and Australia, with one more tour match to go, at the Force.
The Waratahs scored the only try, a decisive one after only 28 seconds, as they took in the kickoff and spread the ball wide, catching the Bulls defence half asleep. Adam Ashley-Cooper offloaded inside to fullback Israel Folau to score his ninth try of the season after missing the last three matches.
A throat injury forced Folau to miss the first two, then he was controversially withdrawn by the Australian Rugby Union for last week’s game against the Force, without input from the Waratahs or Folau.
He and playmaker Kurtley Beale threatened whenever they held the ball, and they led 13-0 midway through the half. Five forward passes ruined Waratahs attacks, and the momentum swung only when Beale hobbled off with a calf strain.
The Bulls rallied with two late penalties by flyhalf Jacques Louis-Potgieter to go into the break only a flattering seven points behind.
Potgieter and counterpart Bernard Foley traded penalties, but then the Bulls hurt themselves in the 66th when No. 8 Grant Hattingh was sin-binned for a high tackle on flanker Michael Hooper. Foley’s fourth penalty gave the Waratahs a handy 19-9 lead.
The Bulls did well to concede only a penalty while a man down, and Handre Pollard, replacing Louis-Potgieter, kicked a late penalty, but the Bulls’ lack of a flanker in Hooper’s mould cost them when Hooper forced a turnover in his 22 and sealed the end of the Waratahs’ eight-game losing run against the Bulls.
New South Wales 19 (Israel Folau try; Bernard Foley conversion, 4 penalties), Bulls 12 (Jacques-Louis Potgieter 3 penalties, Handre Pollard penalty). HT: 13-6.