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Super Rugby: Bulls brush Brumbies aside
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The Bulls kept their play-off hopes alive on Friday with a commanding 44-23 win over the Brumbies at Loftus Versfeld.
The home side outscored the Brumbies four tries to two with flanker Jono Ross touching down for his second of the evening late in the game to secure the bonus point.
The Bulls controlled field possession and were able to live off basic errors that prevented the Brumbies from building any sort of momentum.
They looked impressive when running into space, although their first real chance to score ended when Victor Matfield lost the ball in contact.
The Springbok veteran soon made up for the blunder when, in a moment of individual brilliance, the team's attack-coach cut through the Brumbies line in a second phase move that is likely to be repeated in the highlights real for aeons.
After breaking the line Matfield sold a dummy that left Jesse Mogg who was as stunned as the 16 000 spectators who watched the long-limbed lock pierce through the field at full pace.
The final pass was sent to centre Jan Serfontein who helped ensure the Bulls enjoy a 7-0 lead while the men from Canberra were still finding their feet.
To their credit, the Brumbies showed at the start of the match that their intention was to give the ball air and had it not been for a few poorly executed passed, they could have been rewarded early on.
Instead they watched as Potgieter made it a 10 point game when he knocked one over from close to both the halfway and touchlines.
The Brumbies then battled their way back into Bulls territory, but consecutive line-out infringements cost them crucial field position.
Potgieter extended the lead to 13-0 a few phases later and, after another steady build-up, the visitors finally added their first points through Christian Lealiifano who knocked over a penalty close to the 20 minute mark.
In another perfectly executed set-phase move the Ross scored his first try of the evening when Francois Hougaard peeled around the back of a line-out before sending Serfontein into a gap.
Serfontein, who is steadily maturing into a stock standard Bulls centre, off-loaded in the tackle to help his side to a 20-3 lead.
Again the Brumbies could only muster a Lealiifano penalty as the sting appeared to be out of the contest.
Another Potgieter penalty made it 20-3 at the break with the Bulls defence not looking like leaking any time soon.
As disappointed as the Brumbies would have been with the 40 minutes, the second 40 started on an equally sour note Matt Toomau after he was sin-binned for a high-tackle on JJ Engelbrecht.
Ironically the Bulls would have scored from that position, had the centre passed the ball.
Instead Potgieter extended the score before winger Bjorn Basson brought life back into the match by running-in a 70 intercept try.
Eventually Brumbies winger Henry Speight caught the Bulls defensive line napping and he darted over to make it 31-13, but still the Bulls continued to capitalise from schoolboy errors that allowed Potgieter to keep the scoreboard ticking.
Brumbies captain Ben Mowen would later help restore some dignity to the scoreline when he dived over after a solid break by Pat McCabe - although it has to be said that the bizarre nature of the five-pointer pretty much summed-up the evening the travelling side was having.
Full-back Jurgen Visser fumbled the ball on the line after a diving McCabe flicked it to his inside before he was taken out close to the Bulls line.
Ross scored his second - his team's fourth - that ensured they would take the maximum points out of the game and in a fumbling fashion Tevite Kuridrani again scored his team's final try in South Africa for the season - although this time it would not hand them the win.
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|Saturday 2nd August|
|Waratahs 33 - 32 Crusaders|
|Saturday 26th July|
|Waratahs 26 - 8 Brumbies|
|Crusaders 38 - 6 Sharks|
|Saturday 19th July|
|Sharks 31 - 27 Highlanders|
|Brumbies 32 - 30 Chiefs|
|Saturday 12th July|
|Stormers 10 - 34 Sharks|
|Lions 60 - 25 Cheetahs|
|Reds 3 - 34 Waratahs|
|Crusaders 34 - 8 Highlanders|
|Friday 11th July|
|Bulls 40 - 7 Melbourne Rebels|
|Brumbies 47 - 25 Western Force|
|Blues 8 - 11 Chiefs|
|Sunday 6th July|
|Waratahs 44 - 16 Highlanders|
|Saturday 5th July|
|Cheetahs 27 - 20 Sharks|
|Stormers 16 - 0 Bulls|
|Western Force 30 - 20 Reds|
|Crusaders 21 - 13 Blues|
|Friday 4th July|
|Lions 34 - 17 Melbourne Rebels|
|Chiefs 24 - 16 Hurricanes|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com