Bulls see off ill-disciplined Lions in semifinal
CURRIE CUP REPORT: The Bulls will host this season’s Currie Cup Final after they beat an ill-disciplined Lions team 26-21 in their semifinal in Pretoria on Saturday.
Both teams scored three tries in the match, but it was the visitors’ ill-discipline that proved to be the difference in the game.
The Lions conceded a huge number of penalties in the match and they also had two players yellow carded midway through the second half.
Former SA Schools wing Stravino Jacobs was a key figure in the match, contributing a brace of tries.
The log-leaders showed patience on attack and capitalised on their point-scoring chances in the first half to build up an 8-0 lead, with experienced flyhalf Morné Steyn kicking two penalty goals and Jacobs scoring the only try of the half.
The second half proved to be a tightly-fought affair, as the Johannesburgers scored back-to-back tries in quick succession, but their efforts were cancelled out as the Bulls scored two tries of their own, while Steyn added another penalty goal.
The Lions showed their intent from the outset, running hard on attack and dominating the possession statistics in the first half, but unforced errors throughout the match cost them dearly as they battled to convert the pressure into points at times.
Both teams tried to use their physical forwards to force their way onto the front foot, and with quality backs on either side, the first half contained its fair share of exciting running.
The Bulls opened up the scoring in the 10th minute as Jacobs gathered a perfect grubber kick by Steyn to touch down.
The Lions almost cancelled this out minutes later as Springbok prop Jannie du Plessis forced his way over the tryline, but the ball was held up.
With both teams displaying their tenacity on defence, the rest of the points in the half were earned compliments of two penalty goals by Steyn – in the 28th and 40th minutes respectively – which handed the hosts an 11-0 lead going into the break.
The Bulls wasted no time adding to their score after play resumed, with Steyn kicking his third three-pointer two minutes into the second half.
The Lions hit back almost immediately with a superb try by Willem Alberts (lock) who received the ball from a ruck and dashed through a gaping hole in the defence, and captain Elton Jantjies (flyhalf) kicked the conversion, forcing the team back into the game.
Lions speedster Wandisile Simelane (centre) added their second try three minutes later as he received the ball on the outside and used his raw pace to dash around the defence, and the successful conversion levelled the scores at 14-14.
The Bulls scored their second try from a rolling maul compliments of Johan Grobbelaar (replacement hooker) in the 56th minute, to regain the lead at 21-14.
The Lions were dealt a big blow soon after as Marvin Orie (lock) received a yellow card in the 58st minute, and Alberts followed him to the sin bin two minutes later, which left the Johannesburgers with 13 players.
Jacobs took advantage of this, earning his brace in the 62nd minute thanks to a well-timed chip kick from Chris Smith (replacement flyhalf) to touch down, which eased the disappointment of being denied a try minutes earlier after losing control of the ball before touching down.
The Lions showed their fighting spirit until the dying moments of the match and were rewarded a try by Burger Odendaal (centre), but this was too little too late.
Man of the match: The award goes to Bulls wing Stravino Jacobs, who was strong with ball in hand. He also scored two of his team’s three tries.
Tries: Jacobs 2, Grobbelaar
Pens: Steyn 3
Tries: Alberts, Simelane, Odendaal
Cons: Jantjies 3
Yellow cards: Marvin Orie (Lions, 58 – high tackle); Willem Alberts (Lions, 60 – repeated infringements)
Bulls: 15 David Kriel, 14 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 13 Marco Jansen van Vuren, 12 Cornal Hendricks, 11 Stravino Jacobs, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Duane Vermeulen (captain), 7 Elrigh Louw, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Ruan Nortje, 4 Sintu Manjezi, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Schalk Erasmus, 1 Lizo Gqoboka.
Replacements: 16 Johan Grobbelaar, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Mornay Smith, 19 Jan Uys, 20 Arno Botha, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Chris Smith, 23 Marnus Potgieter.
Lions: 15 Tiaan Swanepoel, 14 Stean Pienaar, 13 Wandisile Simelane, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies (captain), 9 André Warner, 8 Len Massyn, 7 Vincent Tshituka, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Willem Alberts, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Sti Sithole.
Replacements: 16 Jan-Henning Campher, 17 Ruan Dreyer, 18 Carlu Sadie, 19 Reinhard Nothnagel, 20 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 21 Morné van den Berg, 22 Dan Kriel, 23 Francke Horn.
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistant Referees: AJ Jacobs, Griffin Colby
TMO: Marius Jonker
Additional source: SA Rugby
Photo credit: speedshots.co.za