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Bulls stay perfect as Hurricanes fall

SOUTH Africa's Bulls maintained their perfect Super 14 record this year courtesy of Morne Steyn's 14 points and a puzzling performance from referee Matt Goddard yesterday.

Steyn kicked four penalties and converted J.P. Nel's try to give the Bulls a 19-14 victory over the Wellington Hurricanes at Westpac Stadium, but the five yellow cards and one red doled out by Goddard dominated the match.

"It was very frustrating to have so many penalties, especially when we got try-scoring opportunities," Hurricanes captain Rodney So'oialo said. "I think the ref has to go and have a look at how he refereed the game tonight."

Australian Goddard issued three yellow cards in the first half in Wellington, New Zealand, before Bulls flanker Deon Stegmann received a second yellow for a dangerous tackle on All Blacks center Conrad Smith and was sent off in the 49th minute.

Hurricanes lock Jason Eaton was then immediately sinbinned by Goodard to leave the hosts with 13 men as Scott Waldrom was still cooling his heels for a ruck infringement in the first minute of the second half.

The Bulls used Goddard's decision-making to play percentage rugby, kicking for territory and capitalizing on the Hurricanes' mistakes inside their own half.

"It was a great win, because the boys showed great character as we played the whole game with 14 men," Bulls captain Fourie du Preez said.

"It was very frustrating with all the penalties and yellow cards but every game is refereed differently and that's how it turned out this time."

Hurricanes fullback Tamati Ellison scored a try in the first half, while Eaton scored a consolation try after the hooter sounded to salvage a bonus point. Piri Weepu converted both.


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