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Blues come right in Pretoria

10th March 2012 15:24

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Gareth Anscombe bulls v blues

Blues: Sink under par Bulls

The Blues bounced back from two consecutive defeats after upsetting the Bulls 29-23 at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

Gareth Anscombe was the Blues' hero after scoring all his side's points that included two converted tries and five penalties in a terrific individual display.

Whilst the Blues were worthy winners, it was a lacklustre performance from the Bulls as they suffered their first defeat of the Super Rugby season.

The hosts were under pressure within the first 10 minutes of their encounter with the tourists, trailing 7-0 after only two minutes after Anscombe intercepted and sprinted 80m to open the scoring.

Six minutes later the Blues extended their lead to ten points through the boot of their young playmaker.

The hosts received a lifeline from referee Steve Walsh who sent Blues lock Ali Williams off with a yellow card for collapsing a maul. Walsh, himself, seemed to have taken centre stage handing out penalties, left, right and centre.

Even before the half-hour mark, Walsh dished out 15 penalties between the two sides, with the Blues taking the lion's share with 10 and the balance to the Bulls.

It took the Bulls two minutes to exploit their advantage of having one man over; with skipper Pierre Spies crossing to open his side's scoring.

The Bulls' reliable place kicker Morne Steyn uncharacteristically missed the conversion attempt and missed on three more occasions at crucial stages of the match.

He did, however, succeed with his third attempt at goal reducing the Blues' lead to just two points (8-10).

Anscombe extended his side's lead with a penalty six minutes before the break, which he followed up by scoring his brace after the Bulls left a gaping hole metres from their tryline. Anscombe's conversion gave his side a 20-8 lead going into the half-time sheds.

The Bulls scored the first points of the second half with Steyn slotting over a penalty in the 54th minute. However, Anscombe once again poured cold water on the Bulls' ambitions as he succeeded with two more penalty goals to take their lead to 26-11.

This meant the Bulls had to score more than two tries to clinch the match.

The Bulls showed courage at the death though as Bjorn Basson ran in two tries in the last seven minutes of the match with Steyn converting only one.

But it was too little too late for the hosts as time ran out on the stadium clock with the Bulls missing the mark by six points, however at least managed a losing bonus point for their efforts.

The scorers:

For Bulls:
Tries: Spies, Basson 2
Pens: Steyn 2
Con: Steyn

For Blues:
Try: Anscombe 2
Cons: Anscombe 2
Pens: Anscombe 5

Bulls: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 Wynand Olivier, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Pierre Spies (captain), 7 Jacques Potgieter, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Juandré Kruger, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Dean Greyling.
Replacements: 16 Willie Wepener, 17 Frik Kirsten, 18 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 19 CJ Stander, 20 Ruan Snyman, 21 Louis Fouché, 22 JJ Engelbrecht.

Blues: 15 Lachie Munro, 14 Sherwin Stowers, 13 Benson Stanley, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Rene Ranger, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Chris Lowrey, 7 Daniel Braid, 6 Luke Braid, 5 Ali Williams, 4 Anthony Boric, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Keven Mealamu (captain), 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Tom McCartney, 17 Tevita Mailau, 18 Filo Paulo, 19 Bradley Mika, 20 Alby Mathewson, 21 Hadleigh Parkes, 22 David Raikuna.

Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)

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