May 4 (Reuters) - Morne Steyn produced another metronomic goalkicking display slotting 16 points with his boot, adding a try and setting up two others as the Bulls overcame a spirited Melbourne Rebels 41-35 in their Super Rugby match on Friday.
Steyn managed five conversions and two penalties, and did not miss a shot at goal, as the Bulls won their fourth successive match.
“It was pretty exciting from the stands, high intensity, good attacking from both sides, maybe not the best defensively from us but good to get the win,” Bulls captain Pierre Spies said.
“We needed these points,” he added of the victory that propelled them to the top of the South African conference on 42 points, one ahead of the Stormers who have a bye.
The match was one of milestones for the Melbourne side, with Mark Gerrard making his 100th Super rugby appearance, while club captain Stirling Mortlock was making his first of the season from the replacements’ bench after he recovered from a long standing calf injury.
It was also their first match since they parted ways with enigmatic flyhalf Danny Cipriani, who has returned to England early. The former England international has signed with Sale for next season.
The first half was helter-skelter as both sides secured a bonus point by scoring four tries each with Melbourne’s captain Gareth Delve crashing over after the hooter had sounded to vindicate his decision not to take a penalty shot at goal and ensure the match was evenly poised with the Bulls leading 31-28.
The second period, however, failed to live up to the first as both sides adopted a more conservative, patterned approach for the first 20 minutes before Steyn’s deft chip kick ahead was gathered by JJ Engelbrecht to crash over and break the shackles.
Cooper Vuna struck back immediately for the Rebels for his second try, with Kurtley Beale adding his fifth conversion, before Steyn slotted a 72nd minute penalty for the Bulls to give them a 41-35 lead that they held until the final whistle.