Cape Town - The Blue Bulls scored three tries to beat the Golden Lions 31-17 (half-time 16-10) in their Currie Cup match at Loftus Versfeld on Friday evening.
The first half proved to be a war of attrition as both teams looked to tire out each other's defences. The defence was so strong that the teams had to settle for points via their respective kickers.
Blue Bulls flyhalf Tian Schoeman drew first blood within the opening minute and added another before Golden Lions pivot Marnitz Boshoff got the visitors on the board.
Schoeman added another penalty goal before Golden Lions centre Howard Mnisi scored a try off the back of a strong lineout and quick hands.
The Blue Bulls scored their first try through wing Travis Ismaiel who read the visitor's move brilliantly and intercepted to score untouched. Schoeman added the extras to give the home team a 16-10 lead.
The Golden Lions were adamant to score another try in the first half through wave after wave of attack but the Blue Bulls held firm to bring the curtain down on a very physical first stanza.
The Blue Bulls came out firing on all cylinders in the second half and were rewarded with a try through lock Marvin Orie as the giant second rower twisted his way over to score.
Orie's try galvanized the Golden Lions into action as they strung multiple phases together which saw flank Kwagga Smith evade several tackles to score with a quarter of the match left to go.
The men from Pretoria went into the match with one of the worst defensive records in the competition so far but showed that it is an aspect of their game they have worked on as they consistently thwarted the Golden Lions attempts to score.
It was not all defence for the Blue Bulls as Ismaiel broke the line to setup a ruck which allowed replacement utility back Joshua Stander to snatch a pass from the ground to score. Schoeman added the conversion which proved to be the final points of the match as the Vodacom Blue Bulls walked away 31-17 victors.
Tries: Travis Ismaiel, Marvin Orie, Joshua Stander
Conversions: Tian Schoeman (2)
Penalties: Schoeman (4).
Tries: Howard Mnisi, Kwagga Smith
Conversions: Marnitz Boshoff (2)
15 Duncan Matthews, 14 Travis Ismaiel,
13 Dries Swanepoel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Tian
Schoeman, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Hanro Liebenberg, 7 Arno Botha (captain), 6 Ruan
Steenkamp, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Jaco
Visagie, 1 Pierre Schoeman
Replacements: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Martin Dreyer, 18 Nic de Jager, 19 Roelof Smit, 20 Andre Warner, 21 Joshua Stander, 22 Ulrich Beyers
15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Courtnall
Skosan, 13 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Anthony
Volmink, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Ross Cronje (captain), 8 Ruan Ackermann, 7 Cyle
Brink, 6 Kwagga Smith, 5 Lourens Erasmus, 4 Martin Muller, 3 Jacques
van Rooyen, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Dylan Smith
Replacements: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Corné Fourie,
18 Victor Sekekete, 19 Fabian Booysen, 20 Dillon Smit, 21 Jaco van der
Walt, 22 Jacques Nel