Blue Bulls power past Golden Lions

Date published: September 7 2014

The Blue Bulls returned to the victory trail in style with a 36-26 triumph over the Golden Lions in Pretoria on Saturday.

The Blue Bulls returned to the victory trail in style with a 36-26 triumph over the Golden Lions in Pretoria on Saturday.

The home side survived a late surge from their opponents and the victory keeps their Currie Cup play-off hopes alive.

Having been in control of proceedings for most of the match, the Bulls were given a real scare in the closing quarter as their Jukskei neighbours scored two quick tries to ensure the result would remain in the balance until the final whistle.

Lock Grant Hattingh made the match safe for the home side in the 78th minute when he scored from a rolling maul in what turned out to be one of but a few highlights in the match.

It was by no means a spectacle for the neutral spectator as the contest was marred by reset scrums and senseless kicking, and the biggest positive the home side will take from the outing was a vastly improved defensive effort.

For the visitors, the risk they took in selecting a forward-laden bench (5-2 split) turned out to be a crucial error as they were in a spot of bother once scum-half Ross Conje limped-off with an ankle injury during the second half.

Entering the match with their backs to the wall the Bulls were always going to be the more nervous of the two sides and those nerves showed in the opening minutes when Jaco Kriel nearly scored after charging down a Jacques-Louis Potgieter clearance.

The flanker could not hold on to the ball in the in-goal area and the home side received a massive break when considering how close it was in the end.

In the opening 20 minutes of the match the scoreboard changed over due to a combination of poor scrum technique and infringements at the breakdowns, with neither of the team managing to build continuity.

The Lions were never allowed to play their normal expansive game and by the 20th minute the frustration started to show.

Initially the Bulls were placed under tremendous pressure at scrum-time and their fortunes seemed to change the moment they won their first penalty from the set-phase.

A few minutes after Potgieter gave his side a 9-3 lead with the boot, full-back Ulrich Beyers scored his first Currie Cup try from a move which had its origins deep inside their own 22.

Hattingh picked up a loose pass and darted to the halfway line before support arrived and the ball was carried close to the Bulls line.
From there the Bulls recycled quickly and a well-timed pass found Beyers who side-stepped the man in front of him before touching down.

Suddenly the Bulls enjoyed a 10 point lead and although Ruan Combrinck kept his side in the hunt by slotting another penalty, the Bulls would go into the break leading 19-12.

Lady luck continued to smile on the Bulls in the second half as a sneaky chip-through by Potgieter struck Lions centre Alwyn Hollenbach on the arm, allowing Burger Odendal to swoop in and score under the posts.

Still the Lions struggled to gain any momentum and at 29-12 they looked to be dead and buried.

A yellow card for repeated infringements when countering the Blue Bulls' driving maul didn't help their cause either, yet the Lions would score their first try of the night while Ruan Dreyer was in the sin bin.

Kwagga Smith was the man who brought the Liosn close and minutes later Martin Muller dived over to give the visitors a sniff at 26-36.

Hattingh, however, would have the last laugh on an evening when he played one of his best games in the Blue Bulls jersey.

The scorers:

For Blue Bulls:
Tries: Beyers, Odendaal, Hattingh
Cons: Potgieter 3
Pens: Potgieter 5

For Golden Lions:
Tries: Smith, Muller
Cons: Combrinck 2
Pens: Combrinck 4
Yellow cards: Dreyer (52 mins, illegally collapsing a maul)

Blue Bulls:15 Ulrich Beyers, 14 Sampie Mastriet, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Burger Odendaal , 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Jono Ross, 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Deon Stegmann (captain), 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Dean Greyling.
Replacements: 16 Callie Visagie, 17 Basil Short, 18 Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, 19 Jacques Engelbrecht, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Tony Jantjies, 22 Ryan Nell

Golden Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Lionel Mapoe, 13 Stokkies Hanekom, 12 Alwyn Hollenbach, 11 Ruan Combrinck, 10 Jaco van der Walt, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Derick Minnie, 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 MB Lusaseni, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Willie Wepener, 1 Schalk van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Martin Muller, 19 Willie Britz, 20 Kwagga Smith, 21 Mark Richards, 22 Howard Mnisi.

Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen

By Michael Mentz