Smal's Bulls too good for resilient Pumas
MATCH REPORT: The Bulls avenged last season Currie Cup opener to Pumas with a 33-19 victory at the Mbombela Stadium on Friday.
The Bulls scored four tries courtesy of Embrose Papier, Ruan Nortje, Johan Grobbelaar and WJ Steenkamp.
Chris Smith added two conversions and three penalties to the Bulls’ tally.
While the home side produced a penalty try and four penalties by Thinus de Beer.
*To recap all the action CLICK HERE!!!
Bulls led 11-3 at halftime after dominating most of the first half with their powerful scrum and enjoying huge territorial advantage. They were menacing at scrum-time and had the retreating Pumas pack in all sorts of trouble.
The Bulls butchered two tries however with the pack piling on the pressure through another powerful scrum, Springbok scrumhalf Embrose Papier reacted quickly to pounce on the loose ball and score the first try of the new campaign.
Smith missed the conversion.
De Beer, a former Junior Bok pivot who spent his junior rugby days in Pretoria, replied with a penalty goal for the home side following two earlier penalty goals by Smith.
The Pumas managed to get their hands on the ball more often as the first half progressed and they finished that stanza very much in the picture despite their eight-point deficit.
De Beer got the home side off to a good restart when he nailed a straightforward penalty kick to reduce the lead to 11-6.
However, Smith replied minutes later with his third attempt to take the score up to 14-6.
Nortje then went over the whitewash from close range for the Bulls’ second try of the match, which Smith easily converted to stretch the lead to 21-6 just before the hour mark.
De Beer made sure the Pumas stayed in the hunt though, with two more penalty goals in the heavy downpour.
Visiting hooker Johan Grobbelaar then scored a brilliant individual try when he displayed great strength and skill to score their third try despite the close attention of a few Pumas defenders (26-12).
The Pumas showed their tenacity when they were awarded a penalty try after a powerful surge towards the try-line was illegally stopped by Lizo Gqoboka, who earned a yellow card for his offence. That made the score 26-19 with just five minutes remaining.
However, WJ Steenkamp broke the home side’s spirit with his vital try just minutes before the final whistle, and with Smith making no mistake with the easy conversion the Vodacom Bulls were able to clinch this opening match 33-19.
Man of the match: For the Pumas Thinus de Beer was the standout performer. While Bulls’ hooker Johan Grobbelaar deserves a mention for his contributions. However, our nod goes to Ruan Nortje, who not only scored a try, but was vital when it came to setpieces and defence.
For the Pumas:
Try: Penalty try
Pens: De Beer 4
Tries: Papier, Nortje, Grobbelaar, WJ Steenkamp
Cons: Smith 2
Pens: Smith 3
Yellow card: Lizo Gqoboka (Bulls, 76 – Deliberate foul)
Pumas: 15 Devon Williams, 14 Tapiwa Mafura, 13 Sebastain de Klerk, 12 Robbie Petzer, 11 Lundi Msenge, 10 Thinus de Beer, 9 Giovan Snyman, 8 Willie Engelbrecht (captain), 7 Khwezi Mafu, 6 Daniel Maartens, 5 Darrien Landsberg, 4 Shane Kirkwood, 3 Ignatius Prinsloo, 2 Eduan Swart, 1 Corne Fourie.
Replacements: 16 Llewellyn Classen, 17 Ruan Kramer, 18 Simon Raw, 19 Malembe Mpofu, 20 Phumzile Maqondwana, 21 Lucky Dlepu, 22 Eddie Fouche, 23 Alwayno Visagie.
Bulls: 15 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 14 Madosh Tambwe, 13 David Kriel, 12 Cornal Hendricks (captain), 11 Richard Kriel, 10 Chris Smith, 9 Embrose Papier, 8 Arno Botha, 7 Elrigh Louw, 6 Jaco Labuschagne, 5 Ruan Nortje, 4 Walt Steenkamp, 3 Jacques van Rooyen, 2 Johan Grobbelaar, 1 Gerhard Steenekamp.
Replacements: 16 Jan-Hendrik Wessels, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Robert Hunt, 19 Sintu Manjezi, 20 WJ Steenkamp, 21 Zak Burger, 22 Juan Mostert, 23 Stedman Gans.
Referee: Cwengile Jadezweni
Assistant referees: Aimee Barrett-Theron, Local
TMO: Quinton Immelman
Photo credit: Johan Orton