Bulls captain Burger Odendaal (left) congratulates try-scorer Jesse Kriel (obscured) and Handré Pollard, who set it up with a chip kick against the Rebels on Saturday. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

PRETORIA – The Bulls produced a workmanlike performance to dispatch the Melbourne Rebels 28-10 in their Super Rugby match at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

Throughout the clash, the result in favour of the Bulls looked likely, but not certain. 

The hosts worked hard to open up a comfortable lead at halftime at 21-3 ahead, but the Rebels responded with a strong start to the second stanza to pull within 11 points.

But that would be the closest the Rebels came to achieving a fightback.

The Bulls were hardly at their fluent best, but instead can take credit in grinding their way to a bonus-point victory.  

Hooker Adriaan Strauss barged his way over for a score in the sixth minute after some good build-up play by the Bulls. Flyhalf Handré Pollard nudged over the conversion to make it 7-0.

Rebels flyhalf Jack Debreczeni put his side on the board with a penalty in the 20th minute.

Inside centre Burger Odendaal orchestrated the second try for the Bulls with a clever chip kick over the Rebels defence in their 22, with centre partner Jesse Kriel gathering and scoring.

Pollard again converted, putting the Bulls 14-3 ahead.

Wing Divan Rossouw notched up the third try for the Bulls in the corner just before the interval, with Pollard providing another successful conversion to make it 21-3 at halftime.

The Rebels started the second period well, and after a number of penalty advantages inside the Bulls 22, scrumhalf Michael Ruru burst through to score from close range. Debreczeni obliged with the conversion to make it 21-10.

Replacement scrumhalf André Warner took a quick-tap penalty for the Bulls to score the fourth try of the day for the hosts in the 73rd minute.

Pollard once more was on target to make it 28-10 and effectively seal the match as a contest.

Points-Scorers:

Bulls 28 – Tries: Adriaan Strauss, Jesse Kriel, Divan Rossouw, André Warner. Conversions: Handré Pollard (4).

Rebels 10 – Try: Michael Ruru. Conversion: Jack Debreczeni (1). Penalty: Debreczeni (1).

African News Agency (ANA)