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Super Rugby: Waratahs repel Bulls fightback to claim 19-12 win in Sydney
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Waratahs ended an eight-match losing streak to move fourth in the Super Rugby standings with a 19-12 victory over the Bulls at the Allianz Stadium on Saturday.
Waratahs full-back Israel Folau underlined his return from injury with a 28-second try as the hosts made an exhilarating start in Sydney.
Bernard Foley added eight points from the kicking tee as the Waratahs took a commanding 13-0 lead, before Jacques-Louis Potgieter wrestled the Bulls back into contention with two penalties on the cusp of half time.
The Bulls fly-half struck shortly after the break as they reduced their arrears to four and kept the Waratahs pinned back, but a yellow card for Grant Hattingh opened the door for Foley to guide the hosts to victory.
The hosts made a blistering start as Folau, who had not featured since Round 6 of the competition, latched onto the end of Adam Ashley-Cooper's offload and side-stepped two defenders to race home the first try of the match in the opening minute.
Bernard Foley was left with the easy job of kicking an extra two points from straight in front of the posts as the Waratahs made the Bulls pay for an early lapse in concentration.
When a rare Bulls foray down field ended in a knock-on, Waratahs briskly worked their way back into opposition territory, where Foley extended their advantage to 10 from the kicking tee.
Bulls full-back Ulrich Beyers was caught off his feet at the ruck, which allowed Waratahs fly-half Foley to add another three points to the hosts' tally.
Despite the Waratahs dominating possession throughout the opening period, Frans Ludeke's side clawed their way back into contention through the boot of Potgieter.
The Bulls fly-half bisected the uprights twice as they reduced their arrears to seven at the break, with momentum swinging in favour of the visitors.
Last year's semi-finalists continued where they left off after the break as JJ Engelbrecht and Dean Greyling probed the Waratahs defensive line.
The Bulls soon drew a penalty from the Waratahs and Potgieter brought them within four with his third strike of the night as the hosts were suppressed.
Potgieter failed to land an audacious drop-goal attempt soon after, but despite his miss the Bulls seized control of the match as they worked through the phases with fluency.
Pressure continued to mount for the Waratahs, who were unable to utilise their large quantities of possession, but after 46 scoreless minutes Foley offered the hosts a reprieve as he extended their lead to seven points with his third successful kick.
Hattingh's high tackle on Michael Hooper shifted momentum back in favour of the home side as the Bulls No 8 went sent to sin bin, allowing Foley to bisect the uprights once more.
Despite being reduced to 14 men, the Bulls battled on bravely and eventually drew a penalty from the Waratahs, which replacement kicker Handre Pollard slotted through the posts.
With their deficit still standing at seven points as the claxon sounded, the Bulls had no option but to throw everything at the Waratahs, but the hosts held out to claim a fifth victory of the season.
The Bulls travel to Perth next weekend to face Western Force in the hope of salvaging some pride from their tour of Australasia, having now lost all three matches.Rugby Union Live. Click here to bet.
|Friday 6th March|
|08:40||Brumbies vs Western Force|
|Saturday 7th March|
|06:35||Blues vs Lions|
|08:40||Reds vs Waratahs|
|15:05||Cheetahs vs Bulls|
|17:10||Stormers vs Sharks|
|Friday 13th March|
|06:35||Hurricanes vs Blues|
|11:00||Western Force vs Melbourne Rebels|
|Saturday 14th March|
|03:30||Crusaders vs Lions|
|06:35||Highlanders vs Waratahs|
|08:40||Reds vs Brumbies|
|13:00||Stormers vs Chiefs|
|15:05||Cheetahs vs Sharks|
|Friday 20th March|
|06:35||Highlanders vs Hurricanes|
|08:40||Melbourne Rebels vs Lions|
|Saturday 21st March|
|06:35||Crusaders vs Cheetahs|
|15:05||Bulls vs Western Force|
|17:10||Sharks vs Chiefs|
|Sunday 22nd March|
|05:05||Waratahs vs Brumbies|
|Friday 27th March|
|06:35||Hurricanes vs Melbourne Rebels|
|09:00||Reds vs Lions|
|Saturday 28th March|
|05:30||Chiefs vs Cheetahs|
|06:35||Highlanders vs Stormers|
|08:40||Waratahs vs Blues|
|15:05||Sharks vs Western Force|
|17:10||Bulls vs Crusaders|
|Friday 6th March|
|Chiefs 17 - 20 Highlanders|
|Saturday 28th February|
|Lions 19 - 22 Stormers|
|Bulls 43 - 35 Sharks|
|Melbourne Rebels 15 - 20 Brumbies|
|Chiefs 40 - 16 Crusaders|
|Friday 27th February|
|Cheetahs 25 - 24 Blues|
|Western Force 13 - 42 Hurricanes|
|Highlanders 20 - 13 Reds|
|Saturday 21st February|
|Sharks 29 - 12 Lions|
|Stormers 27 - 16 Blues|
|Reds 18 - 6 Western Force|
|Highlanders 20 - 26 Crusaders|
|Friday 20th February|
|Bulls 13 - 17 Hurricanes|
|Melbourne Rebels 28 - 38 Waratahs|
|Chiefs 19 - 17 Brumbies|
|Sunday 15th February|
|Waratahs 13 - 25 Western Force|
|Saturday 14th February|
|Bulls 17 - 29 Stormers|
|Sharks 29 - 35 Cheetahs|
|Blues 18 - 23 Chiefs|
|Friday 13th February|
|Lions 8 - 22 Hurricanes|
|Brumbies 47 - 3 Reds|
|Crusaders 10 - 20 Melbourne Rebels|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com