Pretoria - The Blue Bulls have one hand on a home semi-final following their 48-27
bonus-point victory over the EP Kings in Pretoria on Friday evening.
home side turned in a characteristic second half surge to get them over the
line scoring five of their seven tries in the final 40 minutes of the
Bulls remain in second place on the log and opened a four-point lead over the
third-placed Western Province with one match left in the league phase of the
was far from a polished performance as the home side seemed to revert to their
old ways of trying to bully the Kings up front, but the visitors’ pack would have
none of it.
defence by the Bulls and a gutsy display by the Eastern Cape side saw the Kings
go into the half-time break with both teams scoring a brace of tries in the
flyhalf Tian Schoeman and Kings fullback Scott van Breda exchanged penalties in
the opening minutes of the match.
Kings claimed the first five-pointer of the night when they countered from a
turnover inside their 22 where Sylvian Mahuza stepped past and pierced the
defence with Tim Whitehead finishing and Van Breda converting.
hosts bounced back immediately with flank Lappies Labuschagne scoring from
the back of a driving maul before adding his second on the half-hour mark.
second came courtesy of a break by Arno Botha, who offloaded to his captain for
the try which Schoeman converted to give them a seven-point lead.
Breda narrowed the gap with a penalty conversion in the 36th minute
before Kings scrumhalf Enrico Acker beat Marcel van der Merwe with some fancy
footwork with Elgar Watts scoring to see the visitors enjoy a narrow
three-point lead going into the break.
Bulls got the rub of the green in the second half with the Kings reduced to 14
men when replacement hooker Edgar Marutlulle received a yellow card for repeated
home side capitalised immediately when Dries Swanepoel picked and went for the
line after the Bulls set up numerous phases.
minutes later the Bulls scored again when Botha popped the ball to Francois
Hougaard from the back of the scrum.
nippy scrumhalf danced his way out of danger darting for the line from inside
his own half to score the fourth and bonus-point try.
again featured prominently in the next try when he made the initial break
before debutant Ruan Steenkamp bounced a tackle before passing back to the
Springbok halfback juggled the ball but managed to get it under control before
he got stopped short of the line with prop Werner Kruger scoring off the hard
work done by Hougaard.
10 minutes left in the match Steenkamp added a try to his magical debut scoring
from the back of a driving maul.
Kings earned a brief respite with JP du Plessis scoring in the left-hand corner
before the Bulls’ Jacques du Plessis score his side’s seventh try of the
evening a minute from time.
Vodacom Blue Bulls
Tries: Lappies Labuschagne, Arno
Botha, Dries Swanepoel, Francois Hougaard, Werner Kruger, Ruan
Steenkamp, Jacques du Plessis
Conversions: Tian Schoeman (5)
Tries: Tim Whitehead, Elgar Watts, JP du Plessis
Conversions: Scott van Breda (3)
Penalties: Van Breda (2)
15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Sergeal
Petersen, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Rayno Benjamin, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10
Sias Ebersohn, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 De Wet Kruger, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Gerhard
Olivier, 5 Francois Uys (captain), 4 Reniel Hugo, 3 Luan de Bruin, 2
Neil Rautenbach, 1 Teunis Nieuwoudt
16 Chase Morison, 17 BG Uys, 18 Willem Serfontein, 19 Freddy Ngoza, 20
Ruan van Rensburg, 21 Niel Marais, 22 AJ Coertzen
Eastern Province Kings
Scott van Breda, 14 Sylvian Mahuza, 13 JP du Plessis,12 Tim Whitehead
(captain), 11 Luther Obi, 10 Elgar Watts, 9 Enrico Acker, 8 Jacques
Engelbrecht, 7 Stefan Willemse, 6 Thembelani Bholi, 5 Cornell Hess, 4
Steven Sykes (vice-captain), 3 Tom Botha, 2 Martin Ferreira, 1 Lizo
Substitutes: 16 Edgar Marutlulle, 17 Schalk Ferreira, 18
Simon Kerrod, 19 Paul Schoeman, 20 Tim Agaba, 21 Dwayne Kelly, 22 Karlo