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Super Rugby: Bulls boost play-off hopes with 26-21 win over Cheetahs
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- Potent Blues outclass Reds
- Sharks nudge further ahead
- Crusaders cruise past Brumbies
- Chiefs return to the top
- Waratahs clinch Canes thriller
- Stormers claim first bonus win
The Bulls remain unbeaten at home this season in Super Rugby after a 26-21 win over the Cheetahs on Saturday, ending a four-game losing streak and pushing them two points off the playoff places.
It is a first victory in five matches for the Bulls after they drew with champions Chiefs before their tour and lost four matches on tour.
The Bulls needed second-half tries by tight forwards Paul Willemse and Callie Visagie to overcome a nine-point halftime deficit in the South African derby, and breathe new life into their campaign after a winless trip to New Zealand and Australia.
The Cheetahs slipped to an eighth loss in 11 games and are bottom after 12 rounds despite a lively performance and two scintillating first-half tries from Johann Sadie and Raymond Rhule.
The scores by Willemse and Visagie revived the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld and junior Springbok fly-half Handre Pollard kicked 10 points.
Pollard and Cheetahs fly-half Elgar Watts exchanged penalties in the opening stages before Sadie fired the visitors in front.
The centre intercepted Pollard's pass before racing under the posts and Watts made light work of the extras.
Pollard was then sent to sin bin after the Bulls failed to retreat and Watts converted the penalty as the Cheetahs started to build a lead.
In the fly-half's absence, Jurgen Visser added a penalty before Pollard returned to add another three-pointer.
Cheetahs restored their advantage on the cusp of the half time as Rhule crashed over the whitewash.
The Bulls hit back straight after the break as Willemse spotted a gap and shrugged off a challenger before dotting down.
A Johan Goosen penalty extended the visitors' lead, only for Visagie to force his way over the line to level the scores.
Pollard's conversion nudged the hosts in front and a late penalty from Jacques-Louis Potgieter gave Frans Ludeke's side breathing space.
The Cheetahs remain on the bottom of the standings after the Stormers victory over the Highlanders and the Bulls hold onto tenth place.Rugby Union Live. Click here to bet.
|Friday 13th February|
|06:35||Crusaders vs Melbourne Rebels|
|08:40||Brumbies vs Reds|
|17:10||Lions vs Hurricanes|
|Saturday 14th February|
|06:35||Blues vs Chiefs|
|15:05||Sharks vs Cheetahs|
|17:05||Bulls vs Stormers|
|Sunday 15th February|
|06:05||Waratahs vs Western Force|
|Friday 20th February|
|06:35||Chiefs vs Brumbies|
|08:40||Melbourne Rebels vs Waratahs|
|17:10||Bulls vs Hurricanes|
|Saturday 21st February|
|06:35||Highlanders vs Crusaders|
|08:40||Reds vs Western Force|
|15:05||Stormers vs Blues|
|17:10||Sharks vs Lions|
|Friday 27th February|
|06:35||Highlanders vs Reds|
|11:00||Western Force vs Hurricanes|
|17:10||Cheetahs vs Blues|
|Saturday 28th February|
|06:35||Chiefs vs Crusaders|
|08:40||Melbourne Rebels vs Brumbies|
|15:05||Bulls vs Sharks|
|17:10||Lions vs Stormers|
|Friday 6th March|
|06:35||Chiefs vs Highlanders|
|08:40||Brumbies vs Western Force|
|Saturday 7th March|
|06:35||Blues vs Lions|
|08:40||Reds vs Waratahs|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com