U19: Blue Bulls race to victory
The Blue Bulls were crowned South Africa's worthy Under-19 champions when they beat the Golden Lions 35-23 in the Final at Newlands on Saturday in the first curtainraiser to the Currie Cup Final.
The Blue Bulls thus end their season unbeaten.
Although they were playing against a stronger side, the Golden Lions did not stand back and with 12 minutes to play had pulled back to 28-23.
The Blue Bulls would have had a more comfortable victory had their flyhalf Kobus Marais been more accurate. He missed with five kicks at goal in 11 attempts.
It was an entertaining game with lots of running rugby - more than in the Under-21 match and much more than in the Currie Cup Final. Both teams wanted to run and accepted opportunities to counterattack with glee.
The Blue Bulls scored first when Marais goaled a penalty for a tackle infringement but a minute later the Golden Lions drew level when Jaco van der Walt goaled, also for a tackle infringement. 3-3 after 5 minutes.
Malcolm Marx had a goof break for Golden Lions and the Blue Bulls' Duncan Matthews of Atlantis had a promising run. He was the most exciting back in the match. Two more penalties by Marais made it 9-3 after 20 minutes in a match of 35 minutes per half.
Van der Walt was injured and replaced by Brendan Hewitt who had a strong game. He was not long on the field when the kicked a dropped goal. 9-6 after 24 minutes.
Matthews had another run to set up a Blue Bulls attack that ended when powerful Pierre Schoeman forced his way over for a try. 16-6 after 27 minutes.
The Golden Lions attacked, the Blue Bulls were offside and Hewitt goaled. 16-9 but the Blue Bulls pulled further ahead when fullback Jesse Kriel and Matthews attacked down the right. They then went wide left where Jean Droste got an offload from under his armpit to Keagon Gordon and the left wing scored in the left corner. On the threshold of half-time, the score was 21-9, the Blue Bulls firmly in control
The Golden Lions had a good start to the second half. A penalty gave them a five-metre line-out but they lost the line-out. They attacked but the Blue Bulls kept them out. and then got down the other end and were bashing at the Golden Lions line till Matthews danced over. 28-9 after 50 minutes.
The splendid match was spoilt at this stage. The Golden Lions were attacking the Blue Bulls line when Chris Massyn of the Blue Bulls manhandled Jano Venter of the Golden Lions. Venter punched Massyn and some barefisted boxing took place. That is illegal even in boxing and it ended when both players were redcarded . The game did not deserve this and the Golden Lions lost their most potent forward.
Just when the Blue Bulls looked comfortable the Golden Lions came back with two tries.
First they bashed at the line when Jan Meyer threw a plausible dummy and darted over. 2816. Three minutes later it was 28-23 when they succeed with a penalty-created five-metre line-out and bustling hooker Malcolm Marx scored. 28-23 with 12 minutes to play.
The Blue Bulls kept the best try to last when they countered from their own 22 and Jesse Kriel raced down the left touchline. He seemed about to score when he passed inside to Gordon who was over for his second try. 35-23, which was the Final score.
Man of the Match: Eager, energetic, strong, creative Jesse Kriel with Pierre Schoeman close behind.
For Blue Bulls:
Tries Schoeman, Gordon 2, Matthews.
Cons: Marais 3.
Pens: Marais 3.
For Golden Lions:
Tries: Meyer, Marx.
Cons: Hewitt 2.
Pens: Van der Walt, Hewitt.
Blue Bulls: 15 Jesse Kriel (captain), 14 Duncan Matthews, 13 Daniel Kriel, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Keagon Gordon, 10 Kobus Marais, 9 Juan Smith, 8 Chris Massyn, 7 Jean Droste, 6 Heinrich Viljoen, 5 Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, 4 Justin Basson, 3 Dayan van der Westhuizen, 2 Corné Els, 1 Pierre Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Arno van Wyk, 17 Wilco Louw, 18 Ngwako Ralepelle, 17 Corné Cooper, 20 Cameron Anthony, 21 Leighton van Wyk, 22 Ganfried May, 23 Piet-Louw Strauss.
Golden Lions: 15 Barend Herbst, 14 Chad McKay, 13 Koch Marx, 12 Daniel Arries, 11 Carlisle Nel, 10 Jaco van der Walt, 9 Christian Meyer, 8 Jano Venter, 7 Cyle Brink, 6 Thabo Mabuza, 5 JP du Preez, 4 Victor Sekekete, 3 Pieter Scholtz, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Dylan Smith (captain).
Replacements: 16 Rynard Snyman, 17 Francois van Heerden, 18 Quinton Terblanche, 19 Estian Enslin, 20 Akhona Sihunu, 21 Brandan Hewitt, 22 Gerdus van der Walt, 23 Kyle van Dalen.
Referee: Rodney Bonapart
Assistant referees: Daniel Fortuin, Marc van Zyl
Television match official: Deon van Blommestein