Bulls bully lame Lions again
CURRIE CUP MATCH REPORT: The Bulls cemented their place at the top of the standings with an emphatic 48-21 win over a hapless and outclassed Lions team.
With their dominant forwards laying the platform, the Bulls outscored their hosts by seven tries to two.
The Bulls held a slender one-point (17-16) lead at the half-time break, but in the second half turned up the head and four tries later were well clear at 41-16 – before the Lions eventually replied with a consolation score.
The Bulls had enough in the tank left to add one more try and rub salt into the festering wounds of a desperately poor Lions team.
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With both coaches having overhauled their teams following taxing midweek matches, the superior depth of the defending champions proved decisive.
It was a complete performance by the men from Pretoria.
Ultimately, Jake White’s side collected a full-house of log points, whilst leaving the lame-looking Lions with nothing to show for their efforts and stuck in fifth place for the time being.
A handling error from the kick-off gifted the visitors a perfect platform to attack from. They earned a penalty with a big shove, spearheaded by Simphiwe Matanzima, and Chris Smith popped it over to draw first blood.
Blown up for not rolling away, the Bulls surrendered the lead as Jordan Hendrikse slotted back-to-back penalty goals. The Lions had their tails up and looked threatening, with Wandisile Simelane dancing past a few defenders.
The pressure took its toll as prop-turned-hooker Jan-Hendrik Wessels was yellow-carded for killing the ball in the 18th minute, with the home team opting to take the three points and build again.
However, like it did against Griquas on Wednesday, losing a man lit a fire under the Bulls who countered with the first try, excellent phase play leading to Janko Swanepoel crashing over in the No.5 jersey. Smith’s conversion put the men in blue back in front after 23 minutes.
The Bulls had their second near the half-hour mark, WJ Steenkamp taking a quick tap five metres from the try line and driving over with great support from Swanepoel and Ruan Nortje, the latter having come on for an injured Walt Steenkamp. Smith added the extras to make it 17-9.
PJ Steenkamp hit back for the Lions, the industrious lock dotting down from a metre out, which Hendrikse turned into a seven-pointer. It stayed 17-16 as the teams headed into the half-time break, a fair reflection of a competitive first half in which the visitors made better use of their opportunities.
The Bulls were unrelenting out of the gate and after Wessels had been held up, Smith weaved in between Sibusiso Sangweni and Jannie du Plessis for a try in the 46th minute. Lions captain Burger Odendaal dotted down moments later, however, the try was disallowed by TMO Quinton Immelman due to a forward pass.
From one end of the field to the other, the Bulls struck a telling blow as their forwards went from strength to strength. Muller Uys added some sizzle to the steak in the form of an outstanding offload that put Gerhard Steenekamp in for the bonus-point try, with Smith’s conversion pushing the lead out to 29-16.
With Du Plessis, who’d replaced an injured Carlu Sadie early on, limping off in the 56th minute, the match went to uncontested scrums and the Lions were left having to bring front-rower Sithembiso Sithole back on at the expense of flank Sangweni.
The hits kept on coming for the under-fire hosts as fast hands by Smith sent Johan Goosen in before a nifty grubber by Lionel Mapoe was snapped up by Madosh Tambwe, who touched down.
The Lions stopped the bleeding with Nathan McBeth coming off the bench and driving over but that plaster was ripped off as Zak Burger scored one last try for the Bulls as they completed a Jukskei Derby double, having won the first fixture 40-21 at Loftus Versfeld in the seventh round.
Man of the match: Not many players in the Lions team put their hands up – with young flyhalf Jordan Hendrikse continuing to enhance his reputation and flank Sibusiso Sangweni the hosts’ most productive forward. The Bulls dominated for the better part of an hour – former Lions midfielders Lionel Mapoe and Harold Vorster shining for the visitors. Flyhalf Chris Smith enjoyed an armchair ride behind a dominant pack – in which lock Janko Swanepoel and No.8 WJ Steenkamp were the most productive. The latter wins our award.
For the Lions
Tries: PJ Steenkamp, McBeth
Pens: Hendrikse 3
For the Bulls
Tries: Swanepoel, WJ Steenkamp, Smith, Steenekamp, Goosen, Tambwe, Burger
Cons: Smith 5
Yellow card: Jan-Hendrik Wessels (Bulls, 17 – repeated infringements, killing the ball at the tackle)
Lions: 15 EW Viljoen, 14 Stean Pienaar, 13 Wandisile Simelane, 12 Burger Odendaal (captain), 11 Rabz Maxwane, 10 Jordan Hendrikse, 9 Andre Warner, 8 Travis Gordon, 7 Sibusiso Sangweni, 6 Mark Snyman, 5 Ruben Schoeman, 4 Peter-John Steenkamp, 3 Carlu Sadie, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Sithembiso Sithole.
Replacements: 16 Pieter Botha, 17 Nathan McBeth, 18 Jannie du Plessis, 19 Oupa Mthiyane, 20 MJ Pelser, 21 Ross Cronje, 22 Dan Kriel, 23 Manuel Rass.
Bulls: 15 David Kriel, 14 Madosh Tambwe, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 10 Chris Smith, 9 Keagan Johannes, 8 WJ Steenkamp, 7 Muller Uys, 6 Arno Botha (captain), 5 Janko Swanepoel, 4 Walt Steenkamp, 3 Jacques van Rooyen, 2 Jan-Hendrik Wessels, 1 Simphiwe Matanzima.
Replacements – from: 16 Schalk Erasmus, 17 Gerhard Steenekamp, 18 Mornay Smith, 19 Ruan Nortje, 20 Elrigh Louw, 21 Zak Burger, 22 Johan Goosen, 23 Stedman Gans, 24 Joe van Zyl, 25 Marco Jansen van Vuren, 26 Cornal Hendricks, 27 Stravino Jacobs.
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant referees: Local appointment
TMO: Quinton Immelman