The Bulls have confirmed the age-old adage about charging at red cloth, with a dominant 41-22 Super Rugby win over the struggling Queensland Reds, in Pretoria on Sunday morning (AEST).
The Bulls ran in five tries to three at their Loftus Versfeld fortress, and despite glimpses of fightback from the Reds, enjoyed 60 per cent of possession and more than 65 per cent of territory to assert their ascendency.
Flyhalf Francois Brummer kicked two penalties and five conversions in a perfect night off the kicking tee.
The Reds let themselves down with handling errors and discipline issues throughout the game, although the second-half display of outside centre Samu Kerevi will be a clear positive for the tourists.
The Bulls lodged a contender for try of the year shortly after halftime, when from a clean lineout win, Brummer chipped ahead for Springbok Test outside centre Jesse Kriel, who offloaded back inside for Brummer to find flanker Lappies Labuschagne trailing outside him to score, pushing the home side out to a 27-8 lead with half an hour to play.
The Reds hit straight back when Kerevi took a pass out wide and beat four defenders on the way to the line, and he scored again under the posts only minutes later, after a brilliant Anthony Fainga’a offload put the 108kg outside centre into space.
McIntyre converted from right in front, and the Reds were back within five points, trailing 27-22.
The fightback was short-lived, however, when winger Travis Ishmaiel beat Karmicheal Hunt on the outside, and ran forty metres to score in the corner.
Brummer converted to push the Bulls’ lead back out, and replacement scrumhalf Piet van Zyl scored a converted try in the 71st minute to seal the win.
The Bulls had a chance after the final siren to score a sixth and bonus point try, only to overthrow the lineout and for the Reds to put the ball out of play.
Earlier, the Reds were dealt a huge blow in just the third minute, when no.8 Jake Schatz had a knee buckle badly under the weight of a tackle and was forced from the field.