South African scrum half Fourie du Preez produced a superb all-round game, setting up the try that helped seal a 33-19 victory for the Bulls over the Waikato Chiefs in their Super 14 match in Hamilton.
Du Preez, who had darted 40 metres through a backpedalling defence to set up Gary Botha’s try to give the Bulls a 28-19 lead with 12 minutes remaining, had a try disallowed minutes later after he had scampered 70 metres following an intercept.
Referee Jonathan Kaplan instead returned to just outside the Bulls 22m area after advice from his assistant referee Kane McBride to issue a penalty against Deon Stegmann for a dangerous and late tackle.
Inside centre Stephen Donald, however, missed the easy penalty attempt and the fight went out of the home side, and a late Dewald Potgieter try gave the visitors a bonus point win and ensured they went to the top of the Super 14 table.
“It’s great to [finally] win here,” Bulls captain Victor Matfield said after his side won their first Super rugby game in Hamilton.
“It’s always good to win in New Zealand [because] it’s the toughest place in the world to tour.”
The South African side went into the break with a 15-13 lead courtesy of tries by winger Gerhard van den Heever and number eight Pierre Spies, while Morne Steyn added a conversion and penalty, though he surprisingly missed three other kicks at goal.
Chiefs scrum half Brendon Leonard also capitalised on sloppy handling by Steyn to pick up a loose ball five metres out and force his way over.
Donald added a conversion and two penalties to ensure the gap was two points at the break before he added two more early in the second half to give the Chiefs a 19-15 lead.
Steyn added two more penalties before du Preez, whose cover defence had been superb, took the game by the scruff of the neck and ensured his side did not suffer its second successive defeat after it went down 32-17 to the Auckland Blues last week.
Bulls: 33 (G Botha, D Potgieter, P Spies, G van den Heever tries; M Steyn 2 conversions, 3 penalties)
Chiefs: 19 (B Leonard try; S Donald conversion, 4 penalties)