Rugby: Steyn kicks Bulls to victory

Bulls 26
Hurricanes 14

Morne Steyn of the Bulls kicks a penalty goal. Photo / Getty Images
Morne Steyn of the Bulls kicks a penalty goal. Photo / Getty Images

Six matches, one win.

Pressure continues to mount on the struggling Hurricanes after Bulls and Springboks first five-eighth and Morne Steyn kicked the South African side to a comprehensive 26-14 win in a Super 15 rugby match at McLean Park in Napier tonight.

Steyn showcased his deadly kicking radar to land five penalties and two first-half dropped goals in wet, windy conditions to seal four points for the men from Pretoria, leaving the Hurricanes to face another week of self-analysis and soul-searching.

The Bulls moved up to second in the South African conference and fifth overall, while the Hurricanes season goes from bad to worse with a fourth loss from six matches. With 12 points, they are already 14 adrift of the New Zealand conference-leading Crusaders.

The Hurricanes, backing up from a 42-25 loss to the Rebels last Friday, had more intensity and were competitive in the physical exchanges - flanker Jack Lam was prominent defensively - but again lacked patience on composure with the ball.

They enjoyed more possession, more territory, more penalties and spent more time in the opposing 22, but they forced passes when they didn't need to while first five-eighth Daniel Kirkpatrick was wayward with the boot, missing four of six kicks at goal.

Steyn, on the other hand, was supremely accurate both off the tee and from open play, missing just one kick in the most testing of conditions.

He kicked three penalties and two medium range dropped goals in the first half to give the Bulls a 15-3 lead at the major break after they played the first 40 minutes with the wind behind them.

His second dropped goal drew booing from the parochial Napier crowd, but more objective observers would have doffed their caps to the Springboks pivot, who summed up the conditions perfectly and realised this may not be a night for tries.

The Hurricanes, plagued by handling errors, blew the best try-scoring chance of the first half when right wing Julian Savea dropped a low pass from fullback Cory Jane when the line beckoned.

Openside flanker Serge Lilo made no mistake early in the second half, though, barging over from 5m after a sustained Hurricanes attack to close the gap to seven points.

Kirkpatrick missed several opportunities for penalties before Bulls wing Francois Hougaard sealed the game with eight minutes remaining, scoring their only try of the match after some top leadup work from No 8 Pierre Spies and second five-eighth Wynand Olivier.

Bulls 26 (Francois Hougaard try; Morne Steyn 5 pen, 2 dg) Hurricanes 14 (Serge Lilo try; Daniel Kirkpatrick 2 pen, Aaron Cruden pen). Halftime: 15-3.

- NZPA

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