Blue Bulls fight back to floor WP

Date published: August 22 2015

The Blue Bulls kept up the pressure on the Golden Lions at the top of the Currie Cup table thanks to a 47-29 win in Pretoria on Saturday.

In a tightly contested affair, momentum between these two teams ebbed and flowed but it was the home side who in the end clinched a comprehensive victory after a superb fightback in the second half.

Tries from their highly-rated wings Seabelo Senatla and Dillyn Leyds either side of half-time and superb goal-kicking from fly-half Demetri Catrakilis gave the visitors 26-15 lead 10 minutes into the second half, but the Bulls never panicked and replied with a brace of tries from Jamba Ulengo and further five-pointers from Burger Odendaal, Travis Ismaiel and Warrick Gelant which laid the foundation to the win.

Bulls fly-half Tian Schoeman was not to be outdone and also punished Province with the boot contributing 19 points in his side's victory via five penalties and two conversions.

WP made a bright start and Catrakilis opened the scoring from the kicking tee in the third minute, after Dean Greyling was penalised for not releasing a tackled player. 

The Bulls replied with two penalties from Schoeman, after similar infringments at the breakdown by the visitors before Catrakils drew WP level with another three-pointer in the 16th minute.

Schoeman then added two further penalties which gave his team a 12-6 lead but WP then grabbed the lead in bizzare fashion. Senatla scored after Nizaam Carr did brilliantly to charge down an attempted clearance kick from Schoeman behind his posts. This after Schoeman's kick bounced straight into Senatla's hands and he crossed over for an easy try.

Catrakilis and Schoeman then traded penalties which meant the visitors led 16-15 at the break. 

WP then extended their lead when Leyds intercepted an Odendaal pass close to the halfway line and dotted down under the posts. And when Catrakilis added a penalty shortly afterwards the visitors were cruising.

Cue the Bulls fightback. From the restart, Jacques du Plessis regathered before offloading to Odendaal who waltzed his way past a couple of defenders before scoring under the posts.

WP responded with another Catrakilis three-pointer in the 53rd minute before the hosts took control of proceedings with two quick tries from Ulengo and Ismaiel which gave them a 32-29 lead.

The visitors suffered another setback when Leyds was sent to the sin bin after he tackled Odendaal in the air and the Bulls made them pay with two further tries from Ulengo and Gelant during Leyds' spell off the field.

Gelant's effort was a deserved one as he always looked dangerous on attack and played a role in the build-up of both Ulengo's scores. WP appeared shell-shocked and although they did well not to concede another try, they couldn't prevent a Louis Fouché penalty which sealed their fate.

The scorers:

For Blue Bulls:
Tries: Odendaal, Ulengo 2, Ismaiel, Gelant
Cons: Schoeman 2
Pens: Schoeman 5, Fouché

For Western Province:
Tries: Senatla, Leyds
Cons: Catrakilis 2
Pens: Catrakilis 5
Yellow card: Leyds

Blue Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Dries Swanepoel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Hanro Liebenberg, 7 Roelof Smit, 6 Lappies Labuschagne (c), 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Jacques du Plessis, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 Dean Greyling. 
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Dayan van der Westhuizen, 18 RG Snyman, 19 Jannes Kirsten, 20 Ivan van Zyl, 21 Louis Fouché, 22 Dan Kriel.

Western Province: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Dillyn Leyds 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Jaco Taute, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Nizaam Carr (c), 7 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 6 Rynhardt Elstadt, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Oli Kebble.
Replacements: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Alistair Vermaak, 18. Chris van Zyl, 19 Chris Cloete, 20 Jano Vermaak, 21 Kurt Coleman, 22 Huw Jones.

Referee: Craig Joubert