Duane Vermeulen lifts Bulls against Waratahs

05 May 2019 - 00:00 By LIAM DEL CARME

Earlier in the week Waratahs flyhalf Bernard Foley extolled the virtues of being away from Sydney where controversial teammate Israel Folau's code of conduct hearing is taking place.
Frankly, there was no place to hide once this match kicked off. The Bulls' forwards snorted with intent and although the team's backs weren't at their free-flowing best, the grunt of the pack strangled the visitors.
The Bulls' tight five were exceptional. Lizo Gqoboka and Trevor Nyakane were immovable while RG Snyman produced his unique brand of masculinity and razzle dazzle.
Their dominance wasn't reflected on the scoreboard, however. Handre Pollard hardly helped while defensive aberrations threw the Waratahs the occasional lifeline.
The Bulls seemed to hold them at arms' length but converted tries by Kurtley Beale in the 52nd minute and left wing Curtis Rona in the 68th kept the Tahs in the game.
The Bulls re-established their advantage when Simphiwe Matanzima crashed over for what proved to be the match-winning try.
The first half was illuminated by a moment that typifies the way in which Duane Vermeulen goes about his rugby. His effort required anticipation, guile, dexterity, a turn of speed, endurance and the ability to jump out of a tackle.
Vermeulen wonderfully read the Waratahs' first pass from a lineout 10m outside the Bulls 22. He caught the pass and, with no defender in front of him, seemed certain to score. Nevertheless, Rona set off in pursuit of the big Bulls eighthman.
Just when it looked as if Rona would bring down the Springbok No8, Vermeulen somehow found the energy to buck his pursuer. A dismissive left hand also helped him slip Roma's clutches and the crowd was suddenly in raptures.
It was, however, the Bulls scrum that dominated proceedings here. After Cornal Hendricks was forced to carry over, necessitating a five-metre scrum in the first half, the Bulls forwards simply shoved the visitors off the ball. They repeated it from five-metres out later in the half.
The theme continued in the second half.

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