Rugby

Chiefs stick one in the Bulls' eye at Loftus

24 March 2019 - 00:00 By MAHLATSE MPHAHLELE


With each crushing blow, the noise levels from the Loftus Versfeld stands grew flatter and flatter.
They were in shock as their lethargic team was torn apart by a team at the bottom of the overall Super Rugby standings with four losses and a draw from five matches.
They expected to see the Bulls, who went into this match as one of the form teams in the tournament with three wins and one loss after four starts, to walk over this Chiefs side but the New Zealanders had other ideas as they powered home seven tries to register their first win of the season.
In the process the Chiefs snapped an 18-year winless streak in Pretoria where they suffered six losses and one draw which includes the 2009 Super Rugby final before this game.
The Bulls, who looked to suffer from the blues of inactivity as a result of a bye last weekend, were uninspiring in their work and the determined Chiefs duly punished their mistakes.
For the visitors, they relied on the experience of lock Brodie Retallick and fullback Damian McKenzie, who took charge of proceedings to make a mockery of the widely held belief that overseas teams suffer at altitude.
The Chiefs went to the halftime break leading by 18 points and the Bulls were not good enough to turn things around.
Retallick, Nankivell and Solomon Alaimalo all returned with a brace of tries while McKenzie dazzled with the boot and a return of 21 points.
The Bulls will have to regroup as they have a daunting trip to the Sharks at the weekend where they will be hoping to return to winning ways and possibly return to the top of the SA conference.
The visitors were the first on the scoresheet through an early penalty kick by McKenzie but Pollard equalised in a similar manner shortly.
The first try went to the Chiefs as they managed to stretch the Bulls defence with McKenzie supplying the ball to Alaimalo on the left sideline from where he touched down without pressure after 25 minutes.
Chiefs increased their lead with a try by Nankivell who picked up a bouncing ball inside the Bulls 22 area before he touched down, but Pollard reduced the deficit to 11 points with his second penalty.
On the stroke of halftime, Chiefs increased their advantage when veteran Retallick registered their third try of the afternoon.
In the second half Chiefs scored tries through Retallick, Nankivell and Ta Toiroa Tahuriorangi and Jesse Kriel and Burger Odendaal scored for the Bulls.
Bulls(6) 20
Chiefs(24) 56
Bulls - Tries: Jesse Kriel, Burger Odendaal . Conversions: Handré Pollard (2). Penalties: Pollard (2)
Chiefs: Tries: Solomon Alaimalo (2), Alex Nankivell (2), Brodie Retallick (2), Ta Toiroa Tahuriorangi. Conversions: Damian McKenzie (6). Penalties: McKenzie (3).

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