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RugbyU: Bulls down Blues for South African whitewash

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

The Northern Bulls completed a South African whitewash over New Zealand sides with an upset 28-21 win over the Auckland Blues in their Super 15 clash at Eden Park on Sunday.

The Bulls' first victory over the Blues since 2009 followed the Central Cheetahs downing the Otago Highlanders 36-19 and the Western Stormers holding off the reigning champions Waikato Chiefs 36-34.

All three victories were the result of dominating the New Zealand sides in the forwards.

"It's pretty good, I must say," declared Bulls skipper Pierre Spies.

"It's a great day for us. I'm thankful and humble and it was a great team effort. It's not easy coming here to win."

Both the Bulls and Blues went into the match brimming with confidence after winning their opening two matches, but the Aucklanders could not reproduce the forward power they had previously shown.

Coach John Kirwan had raised eyebrows with a raft of changes to his side, including starting five debutants.

It was a gamble that did not pay off a week before the Blues have a bye, leaving captain Ali Williams distraught.

"We just didn't turn up. I'm gutted," he said. "We had earned some respect (with two wins) and then we lost it just like that. We've got ourselves to blame. We didn't attack, we didn't play the game we trained for."

The Blues had first points on the board with a penalty by fly-half Baden Kerr, playing only his second Super Rugby match, in an early kicking duel with Morne Steyn which saw the Blues take a 6-3 lead.

However, the Bulls were always threatening, and a quarter of the way into the game they produced two tries in five minutes from wings Lionel Mapoe and Akona Ndungane to go 15-6 ahead.

The Blues bounced back in the opening stages of the second half when Kerr kicked his third penalty, followed by fullback Charles Piutau scoring a try which was converted for a 16-15 lead.

However, the Bulls responded immediately when loose forward Arno Botha crossed the line, with Steyn adding the extras and a further penalty.

Rene Ranger brought the Blues back within striking range at 21-25 with a late try before Steyn put the result beyond doubt with his third successful penalty on full time.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130310/rugbyu-bulls-down-blues-south-african-whitewash