Currie Cup

Bulls secure safety, semi

2012-10-13 20:56
Blue Bulls (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - The Blue Bulls overcame early jitters to secure a playoff spot when they beat the Golden Lions 50-29 in a riveting Currie Cup match at Ellis Park on Saturday evening.

The Pretoria-based side seemed rattled in the opening moments of the match but ran in five-tries-to-two to march on to next weekend's semi-finals.

Playing with a perceived weakened side, the Lions did not stand back to their provincial neighbours packed with Springbok players.

In the opening moments of the match, it even seemed like the Lions were in for an upset as they took an early 13-3 lead.

The score-line put the Bulls’ hopes of reaching the playoffs at risk with even the last place on the log looming.

The Bulls, however, made a spirited comeback to guarantee a semi-final match against the Sharks in Durban next weekend.

The Pretoria outfit drew first blood as flyhalf Morne Steyn succeeded with his first attempt at goal after four minutes of play.

Three minutes later, Lions flyhalf and captain Butch James slotted a penalty goal for his side, to level the scores.

The Lions then stepped up the intensity as they smothered the Bulls of any possession while they also attacked the line with enterprising play.

James added three more points with his boot before the Lions finally pierced the visitors’ defences when lock Michael Rhodes crossed the whitewash in the 13th minute.

The try resulted from solid interplay by the Lions players with hooker Callie Visagie playing a leading role in the try as he handled the ball twice before offloading to a speeding Rhodes on the sideline, with James converting.

Meanwhile, the Bulls patiently ground their way back in the match, keeping the Lions within sight through Steyn’s accurate kicking.

Steyn slightly closed the gap as he punched over a drop goal in the 26th minute but James returned their lead to 13 points as he succeeded with a penalty kick a minute later.

The Bulls flyhalf brought his side within four points as two of his attempts at goal were on target.

With nine minutes left in the first half, the Bulls scored their first try, when flanker Jacques Potgieter found a gap and sprinted towards the line where he was stopped short.

Potgieter popped the ball to wing Bjorn Basson, who just needed to fall over the line to gather the points, with Steyn converting to give his side a 19-16 lead, before adding another three points shortly before the half-time break.

The Lions levelled the scores shortly after the restart with James succeeding with two penalty kicks.

The visitors, however, stepped up a gear in the 48th minute when scrumhalf Jano Vermaak made a dart for goal after a solid pass from eighthman Arno Botha, with Steyn converting.

The hosts then equalled the scores once again when wing Anthony Volmink went through the middle of a ruck inside the Bulls’ 22 to score, while James converted (29-29).

The Bulls then ran away with the match as they added three more converted tries courtesy of Botha, Dewald Potgieter and Akona Ndungane to secure a playoff spot.

Next week's semi-finals will see the Lions take on Western Province while the Bulls take on the Sharks in Durban.

Meanwhile, the Cheetahs will play two rounds of promotion-relegation matches against the EP Kings after they finished last, after the end of the league stage of the Currie Cup.

The teams will play home-and-away matches over the next two weeks.



Scorers:

Golden Lions:
Tries: Rhodes, Volmink
Cons: James 2
Pens: James 5

Blue Bulls:
Tries: Basson, Vermaak, Botha, D Potgieter, Ndungane
Cons: Steyn 4, Fouchè
Pens: Steyn 4
Drop goal: Steyn

Teams:


Lions:

15 Ruan Combrinck, 14 Deon Helberg, 13 Deon Van Rensburg, 12 Alwyn Hollenbach, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Butch James (captain), 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Willie Britz, 7 Derick Minnie , 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Paul Willemse, 4 Michael Rhodes, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 CJ van der Linde

Substitutes: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Jacobie Adriaanse, 18 Franco van der Merwe, 19 Warren Whiteley, 20 Whestley Moolman, 21 Elton Jantjies, 22 Lionel Mapoe

Blue Bulls:

15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Arno Botha, 7 Jacques Potgieter, 6 Dewald Potgieter (captain), 5 Flip van der Merwe, 4 Juandre Kruger, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Willie Wepener, 1 Morne Mellett

Substitutes: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Frik Kirsten, 18 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 19 CJ Stander, 20 Francois Hougaard, 21 Louis Fouche, 22 Dean Greyling

Read more on:    golden lions  |  blue bulls  |  currie cup  |  rugby
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