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The University of Canberra Brumbies have been outplayed on the high-veldt, falling to the Bulls 44-23 in Pretoria on Friday night.
Full of confidence the Bulls ran in four tries from all over the park including a long range intercept from Bjorn Basson and a double to flanker Jono Ross.
While the UC Brumbies managed three tries of their own, penalties kept the scoreboard ticking for the Bulls who never truly looked threatened.
It’s the first time the UC Brumbies have been kept winless on tour since 2011 and the first time the team has lost two in a row in 2014.
A highlight for the UC Brumbies was the continued return of Henry Speight – the Wallaby in waiting showing some good touches and clocking up his first try of the season along the way.
Skipper Ben Mowen said it was a disappointing night for the club.
“The Bulls put on a display tonight they were impressive right around the park and deserved the win,” Mowen said.
“I was disappointing we couldn’t stay with them. You can’t let any side get a lead over you like that early, particularly the Bulls at Loftus it's going to be hard.”
“It’s tough to win every game from this point. We need to adjust a few things on game day and hopefully wins will start to flow.”
Despite the UC Brumbies applying pressure early, it was the Bulls with all the points. Jan Serfontein capitalised on some great lead up work from veteran Victor Matfield who galloped up field before unloading to the outside back to score.
Jacques-Louis Potgieter kept the score board ticking with the boot to lead by 10, before Christian Lealiifano pushed one over to bring it back a margin of 7 after 15 minutes, 10-3.
The Bulls struck back immediately with points, Serfontein this time laying on the break and assist for Ross to score his first. Potgeiter had success with the conversion and another penalty, blowing the score to 20-3 after 20.
Lealiifano and Potgeiter both landed penalties before the break, the Bulls taking a commanding lead to the sheds 23-6.
The Bulls started the second half like they finished the first, 8 points registered within the first five minutes. Basson’s read to take the intercept showed class and the Bulls looked like steaming home.
Speight returned to the scoring list for the first time this season with a try under the posts, but Potgeiter clocked up his 20th point off the boot, sending the Bulls to a 37-13 lead with 25 to play.
In the final 15 minutes the UC Brumbies sprung to life, Ben Mowen scoring an opportunist’s try after following Pat McCabe and Speight up the ground.
But UC Brumbies celebrations were short-lived, again the Bulls bouncing back with points. Ross got his second try off a driving maul and with Handre Pollard booting his side to 44 points.
Mowen scored a third try off loose ball, but it wasn’t enough to shake the Bulls who recorded a massive 44-23 win at home to keep their finals hopes alive.
Bulls 44(Jan Serfontein, Jono Ross 2, Bjorn Basson tries; Jacques-Louis Potgieter cons 2, pens 6; Pollard cons 2) bt UC Brumbies 23 (Henry Speight, Ben Mowen, Tevita Kuridrani tries; Christian Lealiifano con, pen) in Pretoria. Referee: Craig Joubert.
1. Scott Sio (replaced by JP Smith)
2. Stephen Moore (replaced by Josh Mann-Rea)
3. Ben Alexander (replaced by Ruan Smith)
4. Leon Power (replaced by Fotu Auelua)
5. Sam Carter (replaced by Tom McVerry)
6. Scott Fardy
7. Jarrad Butler
8. Ben Mowen (c)
9. Nic White (replaced by Conrad Hoffmann)
10. Matt Toomua
11. Robbie Coleman (replaced by Pat McCabe)
12. Christian Lealiifano
13. Tevita Kuridrani
14. Henry Speight (replaced by Andrew Smith)
15. Jesse Mogg
16. Josh Mann-Rea
17. Ruan Smith
18. JP Smith
19. Fotu Auelua
20. Tom McVerry
21. Conrad Hoffmann
22. Andrew Smith
23. Pat McCabe