Super Rugby: Bulls boost play-off hopes with 26-21 win over Cheetahs
Last Updated: 03/05/14 6:43pm
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.
Super Rugby 2014 Round 12
Queensland Reds prop James Slipper and Highlanders forward Brayden Mitchell both handed three-week bans.
Stormers moved off the bottom of the Super Rugby table as they edged the Highlanders 29-28 at Newlands.
The Waratahs moved fourth in Super Rugby table after a 39-30 win over the Hurricanes in a night of drama in Sydney.