PRETORIA – The Bulls snapped a three-match losing streak as they overturned a 19-point deficit to beat the Jaguares 43-34 in their Super Rugby match in Pretoria on Saturday.
This result also sees the Jaguares' seven-match winning streak come to an end, while preventing them from overtaking the Lions at the top of the South African conference.
In contrast to the final outcome, the Jaguares could not have dreamed of making a better start to this clash as they exposed some awful Bulls defence for Nicolas Sanchez and Pablo Matera to score within the opening five minutes.
It was a double strike that left the home side looking completely rattled, particularly when Jaguares scrumhalf Gonzalo Bertranou went over just before the quarter-hour mark to send the Argentine team into a commanding 19-0 lead.
Although the Bulls did hit back through a try to Johnny Kotze, their woes were compounded as their usually steady lineout repeatedly malfunctioned.
Despite spending so much of the first half on the backfoot, the Bulls would have been thrilled to cut the deficit to just five points when Embrose Papier went over for his side's second try in the 36th minute.
That's the way it looked likely to remain heading into halftime, and yet in the final play before the break, Jesse Kriel latched onto a loose pass and darted away for an intercept try that sent the Bulls into a completely unexpected two-point lead.
It didn't take long for the Jaguares to get back into the lead when Bertranou finished off his second try soon after the restart, but the Bulls struck right back when Jamba Ulengo and Marco van Staden went over for two important tries that opened up a 10-point lead.
As the Bulls' confidence continued to grow, Ulengo was put away for his second try in the 64th minute, which effectively killed off any further fight from the weary Jaguares.
Scorers: Bulls 43 (21): Tries: Johnny Kotze, Embrose Papier, Jesse Kriel, Jamba Ulengo (2), Marco van Staden. Conversions: Handré Pollard (5). Penalty: Pollard.
Jaguares 34 (19): Tries: Nicolas Sanchez, Pablo Matera (2), Gonzalo Bertranou (2). Conversions: Sanchez (3). Penalty: Emiliano Boffelli.
African News Agency (ANA)