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Match Highlights: Plummer agony as Blues draw with Bulls

By Online Editors

Struggling five-eighth Harry Plummer missed a last-minute penalty attempt as the Blues were held to a nerve-jangling draw by an undermanned Bulls side at Eden Park on Friday.

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The result all but ends the Blues’ faint hopes of a spot in the top-eight play-offs with two rounds left after the weekend.

The Bulls, missing Duane Vermeulen and Handre Pollard, were dragged back into the game by five-eighth Manie Libbok who grabbed their third try with five minutes left and converted it to level the scores.

The Bulls, who are provisionally fifth overall kept their playoff hopes alive as they leapfrogged the Sharks into second place in the South African conference with 34 points, two points behind the leading Jaguares.

The Blues are fourth in the New Zealand conference, and 11th overall, on 28 points.

“We were our own undoing,” lamented Blues captain Patrick Tuipulotu.

“There was bad execution at times and that cost us.”

Bulls skipper Burger Odendaal was content with the two competition points given they could have lost at the death.

“We’re basically happy with a draw,” he said.

AAP

In other news: Tony Brown returns to Highlanders

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M
Mzilikazi 6 hours ago
Swashbuckling Hurricanes and Harlequins show scrum still matters

I always enjoy a good scrum based article. Thanks, Nick. The Hurricanes are looking more and more the team to beat down here in Australasia. They are a very well balanced team. And though there are far fewer scrums in the game these days, destructive power in that area is a serious weapon, especially an attacking scrum within in the red zone. Aumua looked very good as a young first year player, but then seemed to fade. He sure is back now right in the picture for the AB’s. And I would judge that Taukei’aho is in a bit of a slump currently. Watching him at Suncorp a few weeks ago, I thought he was not as dominant in the game as I would have expected. I am going to raise an issue in that scrum at around the 13 min mark. I see a high level of danger there for the TH lifted off the ground. He is trapped between the opposition LH and his own powerful SR. His neck is being put under potentially dangerous pressure. The LH has, in law , no right to use his superior scrummaging skill….getting his head right in on the breastbone of the TH…..to force him up and off the ground. Had the TH popped out of the scrum, head up and free, there is no danger, that is a clear penalty to the dominant scrum. The law is quite clear on this issue: Law 37 Dangerous play and restricted practices in a scrum. C:Intentionally lifting an opponent off their feet or forcing them upwards out of the scrum. Sanction: Penalty. Few ,if any, referees seem to be aware of this law, and/or the dangers of the situation. Matthew Carly, refereeing Clermont v Munster in 2021, penalised the Munster scrum, when LH Wycherly was lifted very high, and in my view very dangerously, by TH Slimani. Lifting was coached in the late ‘60’s/70’s. Both Lions props, Ray McLouglin, and “Mighty Mouse” McLauchlan, were expert and highly successful at this technique. I have seen a photo, which I can’t find online atm, of MM with a NZ TH(not an AB) on his head, MM standing upright as the scrum disintegrates.

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