Late rally sees Bulls punish littered Lions
RAINBOW CUP MATCH REPORT: The Bulls, who have already won two domestic competitions in the last six months, got their latest campaign off to a winning start.
They beat a very ordinary Lions team 24-9 in a scrappy affair at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
Outscoring the Lions by three tries to none, the hosts looked the more composed of the two sides and the scoreline somewhat flatters the visitors from Johannesburg.
Referee Rasta Rasivhenge had three of his calls overturned – having overlooked transgressions by the Bulls, which resulted in possible tries.
The Bulls held a 10-6 lead at the half-time break and an early second-half penalty saw the Lions close the gap to one point, 9-10.
However, the Bulls took command and two later tries saw them race clear and record a comfortable win.
For the Lions, there is more to be worried about than just the deprived standard of their game.
Fullback Tiaan Swanepoel limped off the field with an ankle injury after just 12 minutes and they can ill afford to lose one of their most talented players.
* As it happened. To recap the drama, CLICK HERE!
The first half was tight, as both teams tried to find their rhythm with enterprising attacking play.
However, a combination of the solid defence and errors at crucial times saw only one try being scored – compliments of Bulls flyhalf Chris Smith.
Smith took advantage of a missed tackle and broke through another in the second minute to dash to the tryline and he slotted over the conversion to hand his team a 7-0 lead.
The Lions showed their intent on the attack in the following minutes and continued to test the home side’s defence throughout the half, but they were unable to find cracks.
Instead, they had to settle for two penalties by flyhalf Fred Zeilinga – in the 12th and 17th minutes.
The Bulls managed to breach their neighbours’ defence for the second time in the 30th minute, but Janko Swanepoel (lock) was denied due to an earlier knock-on at a ruck.
The hosts, however, still had the last say in the half with a penalty goal by Smith, which extended their lead to 10-6.
Zeilinga reduced the Lions’ deficit to one point four minutes after the restart, with his third penalty goal.
However, the visitors found themselves under pressure several minutes later, as replacement back EW Viljoen received a yellow card for a deliberate knock-down.
The hosts had a good opportunity to extend their lead almost immediately, after as Stravino Jacobs (wing) touched down on the far side of the field, but they were once again denied, this time due to obstruction.
The Bulls finally earned the rewards for their determined efforts on attack in the 66th minute, as Zak Burger (replacement scrumhalf) dived over, and veteran flyhalf Morné Steyn added the conversion to hand the team a 17-9 lead.
The men in blue crossed the tryline for the second time in two minutes as Madosh Tambwe (right wing) gathered an accurate cross kick from Steyn, but this attempt was also disallowed as the line-out throw in the lead-up to the move was ruled to be skew.
The hosts, however, showed their fighting spirit until the final hooter and it paid off with their third try by Elrigh Louw (flank) who forced his way through the defence with two minutes to go. Steyn’s conversion saw them deservingly secure the 24-9 victory.
Man of the match: The Lions’ loose trio of Francke Horn, Vincent Tshituka and MJ Pelser, along with long Wilhelm van der Sluys was productive. Wing Stean Pienaar had his moments, while centre Wandisile Simelane – although not flawless and at times a touch selfish showed his full array of skills. Bulls captain Nizaam Carr produced a commendable workrate, while flank Elrigh Louw was one of the most productive players. Veteran flyhalf Morne Steyn showed his experience in the final quarter and kept the Bulls in the right areas of the pitch. Our award goes to Bulls flank Marco van Staden, who was involved in everything that was good – turnovers, tackles and carries.
For the Bulls
Tries: Smith, Burger, Louw
Cons: Smith, Steyn 2
For the Lions
Pens: Zeilinga 3
Yellow card: EW Viljoen (Lions, 61 – cynical foul, deliberate knock-on)
Bulls: 15 James Verity-Amm, 14 Madosh Tambwe, 13 Marco Jansen van Vuren, 12 Cornal Hendricks, 11 Stravino Jacobs, 10 Chris Smith, 9 Embrose Papier, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Elrigh Louw, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Ruan Nortje, 4 Janko Swanepoel, 3 Mornay Smith, 2 Johan Grobbelaar, 1 Gerhard Steenekamp.
Replacements – from: 16 Joe van Zyl, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Jacques van Rooyen, 19 Walt Steenkamp, 20 Arno Botha, 21 Zak Burger, 22 Morné Steyn, 23 David Kriel. 24 Jan-Hendrik Wessels, 25 Reinhardt Ludwig, 26 Tim Agaba, 27 Diego Appollis.
Lions: 15 Tiaan Swanepoel, 14 Stean Pienaar, 13 Wandisile Simelane, 12 Dan Kriel (captain), 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 André Warner, 8 Francke Horn, 7 Vincent Tshituka, 6 MJ Pelser, 5 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 4 Ruben Schoeman, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Pieter Botha, 1 Sithembiso Sithole.
Replacements: 16 Morné Brandon, 17 Nathan McBeth, 18 Carlu Sadie, 19 Reinhard Nothnagel, 20 Emmanuel Tshituka, 21 Hacjivah Dayimani, 22 Morné van den Berg, 23 EW Viljoen.
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistant referees: Griffon Colby, Paul Mente
TMO: Marius van der Westhuizen