Force win Bulls at their own game



The Force got back to winning ways when they won a try-less battle of the boot contest 15-9 against the Bulls at a wet and rainy nib stadium in Perth on Saturday.

The result means that they Bulls failed to secure a victory on their tour of Australia and New Zealand. No South African team has won in Australia and New Zealand yet this season. The Bulls have not won in Perth Western Australia since March 2010 and this is the first time in Super Rugby history that the Bulls have had back to back try-less results.

Former champions the Bulls have now played 10 matches this season and won just three. They have drawn one match and lost six. The Bulls are however still in second place in the South African Conference. The Force on the other hand have played 9 matches and won 6. The result moved them up to second place in the Australian conference above the Waratahs. The Force have a bye next week they travel to South Africa for matches against the Cheetahs and the Stormers before returning home to face the Lions.

The Bulls return home to Pretoria where they will host the Cheetahs and Stormers and then a bye. The victory keeps the Western Force on track for the play offs as they moved up to fourth overall making them the top wildcard team. The Force have never reached the finals, but moved one step closer when they notched their sixth win from nine matches this season on the back of the boot of South African flyhalf Sias Ebersohn and another strong defensive effort.

Ebersohn converted all five of his penalty kicks in a dour struggle where genuine try scoring opportunities were rarely created. In slippery conditions, both teams spent much of the match kicking for field position and handling errors were common. Neither side really threatened to score a try, but the Bulls made a late bid to steal the win when they attacked strongly in the last couple of minutes, only to concede a penalty for not releasing the ball.

The Bulls started brightly enough, dominating early possession and posting the first six points of the match through the boot of Jacques Louis-Potgieter. However, the home side started to claw their way back when Ebersohn converted his first penalty in the 26th minute, and by half-time the Force led 9-6. Two more second-half penalties to the Force saw them put a nine-point gap on the Bulls, but Handre Pollard converted in the 63rd minute to close the gap to less than a converted try.

In the 65th minute, the Bulls won a penalty close to the try line, but it was reversed for a shoulder charge from Jacques du Plessis on Force captain Matt Hodgson. Hodgson said it was a pleasing way for his team to head to the bye. “It was a big win for us,” he said. “They came out firing, I think they wanted to get one before they went home and we had to nullify that. “We had a lot of discipline in that second half and played a good kicking territory game.”

Final Score W.ForceĀ 15 (9) BullsĀ 9 (6)


Tries –
Pen – S.Ebersohn 5

Tries –
Pen – J. Potgieter 2, H.Pollard

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Better known as Bunny, Took over after Pissant went over to the "Dark Side"


  1. Bunny, the Bulls might at the moment still be 2nd on the SA conference log but that means little when you look at the other conferences. At 20 points from 10 games, the Bulls are on the same number of points as the bottom NZ conference side, the Blues who have played 9 games and 4 points better than the Rebels and the Reds on the Aussie conference who have also played fewer games than the Bulls.

    Nee wat, die seisoen is verby vir hulle! (and sadly all SA sides except the Sharks).

    I saw the report with Victor talking up the fact that although they lost all 4 Australasian tour games, the 4 point losing bonuses they held onto could help them across the line but somehow I doubt it. The Sharks would have to do the Bulls a massive favour and lose most of their remaining games for the Bulls to get into the finals as SA conference leaders because surely they are not going to be able to sneek in amongst the wildcard sides as they did in 2012.

  2. Not necessarily.

    This is a topsy-turvy season, with upsets galore.
    As it is now, the 6th team on the log is the Waratahs with only 24 from 9 games (2.5 points per game).

    If that ratio holds, then 40 points from 16 games will be enough to sneak into the play-offs.

    The Bulls still have: The Cheetahs, Stromers (x2), Lions, Brumbies and Rebels. 4 of the 6 games at Loftus.
    A final points tally of 40 to 45 is within reach.

  3. The Sharks with all their injuries and how they’re playing right now may just lose all matches on tour also and NOT score any bonus points.
    In that case it’s game on for SA conference winner

    Sharks schedule:
    Rebels, Brumbies, Crusaders, Blues, Stormers (H), Cheetahs, Stormers. Only one game at Kings Park.
    They need around 16 points to be sure to be ahead of the Bulls. Three wins plus bonus points.

  4. @Timeo: LOL “hope springs eternal from the Bulls supporters” and yep you are right it is an unusual season with surprise results nearly every weekend. Are you not asking for too much for the Bulls to end a very average season on a 6 game winning streak. Their current 20 could become a maximum of 50 points if they do the unthinkable and score a 4 try bonus every game. But would this be enough even in an upside down year for them to sneak into the playoffs? The team getting into the playoffs with the lowest points so far was the Cheetahs last year, who snuck in on 54.

    As you say, the Sharks could do the Bulls a favour and give away their 11 point lead allowing the Bulls in as SA conference leaders but that is also highly unlikely. In their favour, they have been good travellers Downunder in the past and have a coach who has lived in Australia and unlike the Bulls, Stormers and Cheetahs, they will come back with at least 1 win but then again, unexpected things have happened.

    All of a sudden we have the strange phenomenon of massive support for Oz and kiwi teams from north of the Jukskei River!

  5. @out wide:

    Uh. Uhmm.
    Last year teams received 8 points for the 2 byes. Under this year’s rules, the Cheetahs would have made 6th place with 46 points.

    And nope.
    I’ll be rooting for the Sharks in every game they play against OS teams. Listing what is not unlikely, is not the same hoping for it.