Bulls keep play-offs hopes alive with draw against the Highlanders

07 June 2019 - 12:15 By Mahlatse Mphahlele
Bulls captain Handre Pollard (C) is tackled by Highlanders' captain Luke Whitlock (L) and James Lentjes (R) during the Super Rugby match between New Zealand's Highlanders and South Africa's Bulls at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on June 7, 2019.
Bulls captain Handre Pollard (C) is tackled by Highlanders' captain Luke Whitlock (L) and James Lentjes (R) during the Super Rugby match between New Zealand's Highlanders and South Africa's Bulls at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on June 7, 2019.
Image: Marty MELVILLE / AFP

The Bulls managed a hard fought 24-24 draw with the Highlanders in Dunedin on Friday morning to maintain their hopes of making it to the knockout stages of Super Rugby.

As a result of this share of the spoils‚ the Bulls ensured that they ended the New Zealand leg of their Australasian tour unbeaten as they also played to a 22-22- draw Blues last weekend in Auckland.

They have moved to second spot on the SA Conference with 36 points below the Jaguares but they may be overtaken by the Lions or the Stormers who are in action on Saturday.

This situation also means that they must beat the Lions at Loftus next weekend and hope that other results go their way on the final day of the round robin stages to have any realistic chance of qualifying for the play-offs.

On Friday‚ the Highlanders where the first to get their names on the scoreboard when Josh McKay scored the opening try of the game after he received the ball from a box kick by Aaron Smith in the twelfth minute.

In the 22nd minute‚ the Highlanders pulled away when Waisake Naholo registered their second try of the match on the corner after he was released by a clever chip kick from Sio Tomkinson.

A few minutes later‚ the Bulls reduced the deficit to five points with their first try when Divan Rossouw touched down under the poles and it was followed by a conversion from Handrè Pollard.

Shortly after the hour mark‚ McKay registered scored his second try of the match following a break from Rob Thompson that was converted by Josh Ioane but the Bulls replied immediately through a try by Jason Jenkins.

The two teams went at each other after restart and it took 13 minutes before a try was scored by Naholo who dotted down for his second of the match as the home side increased their advantage.

Pollard reduced the deficit when he successfully converted the only penalty kick of the match and they leveled the score late in the game through a try by Jaco Visagie that was easily converted by Pollard.

Scorers Highlanders (19) 24 Bulls (14) 24

Highlanders

Tries: Josh McKay (2)‚ Waisake Naholo (2) Conversions: Josh Ioane (2)‚

Bulls

Tries: Divan Rossouw‚ Jason Jenkins‚ Jaco Visagie

Conversions: Handrè Pollard (3)

Penalty: Handrè Pollard (1)

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