As Jake White said earlier in the week: “Who would have thought a few months ago that the Stormers would be in second place on the log?”
It has indeed been a remarkable turn-around for the four South African teams in the United Rugby Championships (URC) with three of them in the last eight.
It is interesting to note that when the South Africans played in the very cold European winter conditions they simply didn’t handle it at all well.
Likewise the European teams haven’t performed well in the Southern Hemisphere, suffering because of the humidity, the heat and – at altitude – with the thin air.
On Friday, the Bulls, 8th on the log, were up against the Glasgow Warriors, 6th on the log. With the temperature at 18c and clear skies in Pretoria, the weather was pretty neutral… except for the thin air. It’s not called the Highveld for nothing.
Before the match, the question was clearly about Glasgow’s ability to last for 80 minutes.
As if they were trying to prove a point, Glasgow started playing at breakneck speed and seemed set on keeping the ball away from the Bulls forwards, going to the backline every time they had the ball.
After numerous infringements by the Bulls, Georgian referee Nika Amashukeli awarded a penalty try to Glasgow. Unfortunately he had no choice as the rules also forced him to award a yellow card in Glasgow’s favour.
The Bulls responded quickly with a converted try through their dominant forwards.
Madosh Tambwe scored a brilliant try for the Bulls at the end of the first half and their seven point lead was a fair reflection of the game up to that point.
With Glasgow seemingly running on empty the Bulls’ scrum was totally dominant for a blistering seven minutes resulting in three tries but the Bulls conceded a sloppy try to Glasgow before the end.
No doubt Jake White will say the Bulls did everything they were supposed to, but it was not a complete performance. His team will have to do better against the Ospreys in two weeks time.
Bulls 29-17 Glasgow Warriors
Bulls: Tries: Zak Burger, Madosh Tambwe, Walt Steenkamp, Cyle Brink.
Penalties: 1. Conversions 3.
Glasgow Warriors: Tries: (Penalty try), Ollie Smith,
Penalties: 1. Conversions: 1.
Image source: @BlueBullsRugby