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Mistakes costly for Blues

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Sportal.co.nz     09 Mar 2014     Getty Images

Unable to unleash their attacking weapons in the three-quarters often enough, the Blues went into the final quarter in contact with the home side and made several promising thrusts. But in the end it was the desire to get within the seven-point margin that resulted in a final turnover which saw the Bulls capitalise and score against the run of play in the last minute.

Even then there was debate over whether replacement prop Marcel van der Merwe executed a double movement in scoring the try.

However, the Blues had enough possession during the game to have achieved a better result but ultimately they paid the price for mistakes that were scattered throughout their performance.

The first was an attempted grubber kick by fullback Charles Piutau which was blocked by the Bulls and 100th game wing Akona Ndungane swooped to pick it up and break away.

The Bulls made the most of the chance to get the ball quickly downfield with Ndungane featuring twice again, his last act being a quick pass to hooker Callie Visagie, who dropped the ball over the goal-line.

But the Blues conceded a tighthead at the five-metre scrum and first five-eighths Jacques-Louis Potgieter ran around second five-eighths Jackson Willison to score and convert the try.

First five-eighths Simon Hickey opened the Blues scoring with a penalty goal but Potgieter responded with a 48m dropped goal. And the two kickers followed that with a penalty goal apiece

Mistakes were costly. Apart from the blocked grubber kick, the Blues muffed an attempted quick 22m drop out, and then two unstraight scrum feeds were penalised while lock Victor Matfield stole a key lineout. Hickey threw an intercept pass and in the resulting play lock Tom Donnelly scooped a dropped Bulls ball back and saw it fall into space and bounce into Jono Ross' hands for a 28th minute try.

Then just before half-time a poor clearing kick out of the 22 by wing Frank Halai was countered by the Bulls, who fully tested the Blues defences around goal-line pick and goes, before a missed tackle by Hickey allowed second five-eighths Jan Serfontein to slip through to score and give the Bulls a 25-12 lead at the break.

Potgieter added another penalty goal in the 46th minute but the introduction of lock Patrick Tuipolotu provided some impetus in the pack. And in the 56th minute, a clever Hickey grubber, after a lineout five metres from the Bulls line, saw the ball elude centre George Moala before replacement Pita Ahki touched down to score on his Super Rugby debut.

Penalty goals were again exchanged as the Blues got within and without the seven-point deficit.

Scorers:


Bulls 38 (Jacques-Louis Potgieter, Jono Ross, Jan Serfontein; Marcel van der Merwe tries; Potgeiter 2 con, 3 pen, dropped goal; Handre Pollard con) Blues 22 (Pita Ahki try; Simon Hickey con, 5 pen). HT: 25-12