Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria. SuperRugby Bulls vs Cheetahs 300612. Cheetahs' Heirich Brussouw and Riaan Smit bring down Bulls hooker Chiliboy Ralepelle just short of the line. Picture: Etienne Rothbart.

Bulls (26) 40

Tries: Spies, Greyling, Kirchner, Hougaard, Kruger, Basson; Conversions: Steyn 5

Cheetahs (0) 24

Tries: Nel 2, Le Roux, Brussow; Conver-sions: Sias Ebersohn 2


Pretoria - The Cheetahs came here on Saturday night with much promise but that is all it was, a promise.

Instead it was the Bulls who delivered in emphatic style to break a three-match Super Rugby losing streak that had threatened to end their chances of making the play-offs.

With the threat of again being mere observers come the play-offs, the Bulls played with intent and ruthlessness.

They did more than enough in the first hour of this convincing beating of the visitors from Bloemfontein to gain themselves a vital bonus point that elevated them into the top four on the combined log and with two matches left, the Bulls are within touching distance of the play-offs.

To say the Bulls were the only team on the field would be an insult to the Cheetahs but it was the hosts who played all the rugby while the visitors looked reluctant to do so in the opposition’s half.

The Cheetahs played into the Bulls’ hands by making some juvenile decisions and giving away possession instead of holding onto the ball or seeking territorial advantage.

It was from early on in this bruising encounter that the Bulls got wind of the Cheetahs’ aimless game-plan and with the fear of another loss threatening their championship aspirations, the men in blue went for the kill.

As was the case earlier in the season, the Bulls were clinical in the set-piece, ran hard and with intent over the advantage line and made good of their many forays into the Cheetahs’ in-goal area.

For that, the Bulls were richly rewarded as they ran in an impressive and match-ending five tries before half-time.

Then out of nowhere there was logic to the Cheetahs’ madness and instead of running sideways, they found penetration from some intelligent chip kicks by substitute flyhalf Sias Ebersohn who twice caught the Bulls napping for WP Nel and Willie le Roux’s tries.

While Nel grabbed another try which was soon followed by a runaway Heinrich Brussow try three minutes from the end, the damage had long been done when the Bulls had cruised to a 40-0 lead in the 58th minute from a brilliant long-range try by Bjorn Basson.

It was evident that the Cheetahs need to find some direction in their play if they are indeed going to become a more than competitive side in the Super Rugby competition.

Sunday Independent