Pretoria - Western Province produced an inspiring performance to beat the Blue
Bulls 29-18 despite being a player short for most of their Currie Cup
match at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
The visitors put the first points on the board with flyhalf Kurt Coleman slotting over a penalty four minutes into the match.
His counterpart Handre Pollard leveled the scores seven minutes later with a drop goal with the ball bouncing off the right upright before it went over the crossbar.
Province were in rampant form in the scrums where the Bulls pack creaked under the pressure from the visitors.
Their scrum proved to be a deciding factor as they scored their first try off a penalty against the Bulls in this facet of play.
In the 13th minute Province scrumhalf Louis Schreuder took a quick tap from the scrum penalty with the visitors setting up a few phases.
Nippy fullback Gio Aplon rounded off the passage of play as he received the ball at pace shortly before the line to touch down for the try, with Coleman converting (10-3).
The Bulls had two opportunities to close the gap on the scoreboard, however, Pollard missed two penalty kicks within striking distance seven minutes apart.
To rub salt in the wounds, Coleman had no problem with his kick at goal in the 27th minute to extend their lead to 10 points.
Three minutes later Pollard restored the status quo with a penalty conversion on the half-hour mark.
The match took a dramatic turn when Michael Rhodes received his marching orders as match-referee Marius Jonker pulled out a red card for “dangerous use of the boot”.
Bulls captain Jono Ross got a boot to the face as he attempted to tackle Rhodes. While it could not be determined whether there was intent from Rhodes, it was nevertheless dangerous.
This left Province playing the 45 minutes that was left in the match with a player short.
The disadvantage did not stymie Province’s momentum as they replied with a try three minutes from the half-time break.
Centre Juan de Jongh turned the ball over at the breakdown and sent it wide with his midfield partner Damian de Allende kicking the ball ahead.
Cheslin Kolbe fielded on the sideline and offloaded to De Allende on his inside to trot through for the try, with Coleman converting for a 20-6 advantage at the break.
The Bulls made an encouraging start to the second half with Ross taking a pass close to the line at speed to score in the 43rd minute after they set up a few good phases.
Pollard converted the try to bring his side within seven points of the visitors, but Coleman pulled back three more points with a penalty conversion four minutes later.
The hosts missed another opportunity to score when lock Paul Willemse lost the ball on the try line after the forwards executed a good drive from a lineout.
Just before the last quarter, the match took another turn with Bulls replacement flanker Jacques Engelbrecht receiving a yellow card for a high tackle.
While Coleman missed the penalty kick, his replacement Gary van Aswegen added insult to injury for the Bulls with two penalty conversions to stretch their lead to 29-13.
The Bulls launched a late fightback with David Bullbring getting over the whitewash four minutes from time, with Pollard missing the conversion kick.
Blue Bulls - Try: Jono Ross. Conversion: Handre Pollard. Drop Goal: Handre Pollard Penalty: Handre Pollard
Western Province - Try: Gio Aplon, Damian de Allende. Conversions: Kurt Coleman(2). Penalties: Kurt Coleman (2), Gary van Aswegen.