Bulls extend Highlanders misery
No relief occurred for the Highlanders when they were hammered 35-18 by the Bulls in Pretoria on Saturday.
The Bulls took only two minutes to secure the first of their four tries when a bouncing ball from halfback Francois Hougaard found its way to centre JJ Englebrecht who scored wide out.
First five-eighths Morne Steyn kicked the first of his 15 points to add the conversion. He added three penalty goals, to two landed by Highlanders pivot Colin Slade to give the Bulls a 16-6 lead.
The Highlanders suffered a bad blow just before halftime when a tackle by Bulls hooker Chilliboy Ralepelle knocked the ball loose from Highlanders' hands. Flanker Dewald Potgieter secured the ball and found Englebrecht. He fed wing Akona Ndungane and he cleared out to score. Suspicions that a forward pass from Englebrecht may have occurred did not impress the Television Match Official and the try was awarded.
Six minutes after the break the Bulls effectively killed the Highlanders chances once and for all with a typical lineout drive. While stopped short of the goal-line, Hougaard presented the ball to captain Pierre Spies who celebrated his 100th Super match for the Bulls by claiming a try.
Highlanders indiscipline was double punished when wing Maritino Nemani was sin-binned for a high tackle and just as his 10 minutes was up, prop Chris King was deemed to have collapsed a maul and he was given 10 minutes off.
However, the Highlanders finished strongly with replacement halfback Fumiaki Tanaka scoring in the 72nd minute with Hayden Parker adding the conversion.
The Bulls finally achieved their bonus point when Jano Vermaak went over from a maul.
And the Highlanders rounded out the game with Tamati Ellison scoring on fulltime.
Bulls 35 (JJ Engelbrecht, Ndungane, Spies, Vermaak tries; Morne Steyn 3 con, 3 pen), Highlanders 18 (Fumiaki Tanaka, Tamati Ellison tries; Hayden Parker con; Colin Slade 2 pen). HT: 23-6