Goosen stars as Bulls fight back to beat South Africa 'A'
MATCH REPORT: The Bulls gave the Springbok camp plenty to think about after they beat South Africa ‘A’ 17-14 in a scrappy match at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday.
A monster penalty goal by the Bulls’ replacement flyhalf, Chris Smith, gave the men from Pretoria the hard-fought and deserving win.
Smith, who had replaced an impressive Johan Goosen minutes earlier, placed the kicking tee just inside his half and the ball just made it over the crossbar, but they all count and the Bulls took the lead with less than five minutes left.
Goosen, on debut for the Bulls, earlier made a sizeable mark on the game. The men from Pretoria were trailing by 0-14 at the break, but two interventions by their starting flyhalf first saw replacement scrumhalf Keagan Johannes race in for a try under the sticks and a minute later, replacement hooker Johan Grobbelaar scored at the same spot, both converted by Goosen to draw scores level in a flash.
After 65 minutes of to and fro and some glimpses of class, Goosen stepped inside some defenders and fed his halfback partner who ran in untouched.
The Johannes try gave some meaning to the game, and certainly sparked the interest of Goosen, who sniffed out the opportunity like a true pivot.
From the restart, Goosen again saw a gap in a tiring SA ‘A’ defence and put Muller Uys through at full speed. The flank ran strongly and the Bulls distributed nicely out to the wing, where FC du Plessis found himself trapped against the touchline, but a clever kick infield was gathered by Grobbelaar who ran in without a green jersey in sight. Goosen kicked the conversion and suddenly it was all square with 10 minutes to play.
That was until Smith landed the bomb that earned Jacques Nienaber a first defeat in green and gold as head coach.
The match reminded much of a typical SA derby in the early stages, although SA ‘A’ opted for line-out drives and not kicking to the poles. The Bulls repelled the first one, but conceded a penalty in the process and from the next drive erred again, but managed to stop the drive (illegally) again. This time SA ‘A’ opted for a scrum, but the Bulls were rewarded a penalty when Coenie Oosthuizen lost his bind.
That respite was short-lived however as SA ‘A’ caught the Bulls’ defence napping, with Cobus Reinach delivering a sniping break to hand Aphelele Fassi an easy run in. Elton Jantjies converted from right in front to hand his team a 7-0 lead 12 minutes in.
The Bulls came with a ferocious charge though and from the kick-off enjoyed a long spell inside the SA ‘A’ side’s 22 meter area. They kept pegging away at the defence and got some sort of reward then Wandisile Simelane was binned for making a tackle from an offside position.
It did not deliver any points though and SA ‘A’ could escape without conceding.
The teams showed little ambition to carry the ball in the early stages, but the game opened up midway through the first half, with both sides starting to use their backs to gain territory as well. Tight defence reigned though and it became a slugfest of rucks and big hits.
The second try of the match came just before half-time, with Simelane getting his five-pointer. The midfielder had to thank a number of good runs by a rash of ball-carriers, as South Africa ‘A’ seemed to find some patience on attack and a willingness to work off the ball.
They stretched the Bulls defence till Simelane could eventually just drop over the line without a defender in sight to stop him.
The second half, bar some exciting runs by Rosko Specman on the wing for SA ‘A’, will be remembered for the Bulls comeback.
Man of the match: The award goes to Bulls flyhalf Johan Goosen who was outstanding in that second half. He turned the game around and kept the Boks guessing when he had the ball. He was also strong on defence as well. Special mention must go to SA ‘A’ fullback Aphelele Fassi, who had a great first half and he scored one of his team’s two tries.
For South Africa ‘A’:
Tries: Fassi, Simelane
Cons: Jantjies 2
Tries: Johannes, Grobbelaar
Cons: Goosen 2
Pen: C Smith
Yellow card: Wandisile Simelane (SA ‘A’, 17 – repeated infringements, offside)
South Africa ‘A’: 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Yaw Penxe, 13 Wandisile Simelane, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Elton Jantjies (captain), 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Kwagga Smith, 7 Rynhardt Elstadt, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, 4 Jean-Luc du Preez, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Coenie Oosthuizen.
Replacements: 16 Fez Mbatha, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Japser Wiese, 20 Sanele Nohamba, 21 Sbu Nkosi, 22 Jesse Kriel, 23 Damian Willemse.
Bulls: 15 FC du Plessis, 14 Marco Jansen van Vuren, 13 Harold Vorster, 12 Cornal Hendricks, 11 Stravino Jacobs, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Zak Burger, 8 WJ Steenkamp, 7 Muller Uys, 6 Nizaam Carr (captain), 5 Ruan Nortje, 4 Walt Steenkamp, 3 Jacques van Rooyen, 2 Schalk Erasmus, 1 Simphiwe Matanzima.
Replacements: 16 Johan Grobbelaar, 17 Gerhard Steenekamp, 18 Mornay Smith, 19 Janko Swanepoel, 20 Arno Botha, 21 Keagan Johannes, 22 Chris Smith, 23 David Kriel.
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant referees: Rasta Rasivhenge, Aimee Barrett-Theron
TMO: Marius Jonker
Additional source: SA Rugby
Photo by: Thinus Maritz