Bulls cruise into another Final
CURRIE CUP MATCH REPORT: The defending champion Bulls qualified for the Final with a comfortable 48-31 win over Western Province at Loftus Versfeld on Friday.
Based on current form, they will be favourites – whether they host the Sharks or Griquas in Pretoria next week.
The Bulls raced into a 17-0 lead inside the opening 10 minutes and from then Province was playing catch-up – never quite managing to get into the game against a marauding home team.
With their forwards in dominant form – both in terms of the set pieces and at the breakdowns – the halfback combination of Johan Goosen and Zak Burger was able to dictate the terms of the game.
Province had their moments, with brief periods of quality phase-play, but every time it looked like they would work their way back into the game the hosts piled more points to the scoreboard.
Leading 38-12 at half-time, the Bulls went into cruise mode – knowing they will host the Final at the same venue next week.
They certainly left plenty in the tank for next weeks’ Final.
* Did you miss any of the action? To recap the drama, CLICK HERE!
The Bulls opened the scoring with a Johan Goosen penalty in the second minute.
And when the Province captain, Ernst van Rhyn, conceded a penalty soon afterwards, the Bulls set up a line-out deep inside the WP 22-metre area, setting the stage for wing Cornal Hendricks to stroll over on the right wing. Goosen’s conversion made it 10-0 inside five minutes.
Minutes later Goosen strolled over for the second try – some sublime interplay between forwards and backs exposing Province’s brittle defence. The flyhalf added the conversion 17-0 inside 10 minutes.
Province finally got on the board in the 12th minute – a penalty and a quick tap opening space for left wing Edwill van der Merwe. Tim Swiel’s conversion attempt was wide – 5-17.
However, the Bulls charged over for their third try when – from a solid scrum – an inside pass to Arno Botha stroll over for the five-pointer. Goosen made it 24-5, after 16 minutes, with the conversion.
WP worked hard to get back in the game, with Hacjivah Dayimani finishing off a series of forward charges – barging over from close range. The TMO had a few looks, but found no evidence to overturn the try. Swiel made it 12-24 with the conversion.
Again the Bulls were next to score – a penalty, a series of phases and some great hands sent Lionel Mapoe over on the left. Goosen made it 31-12, on the half-hour mark, with the conversion.
The Bulls continued to batter away at the Province line, captain Marcell Coetzee finishing off a series of powerful raids. Goosen made it 38-12. That’s how it stayed till half-time.
Province scored first after the break – with Sergeal Petersen and Edwill van der Merwe combining in a sublime backline move, Van der Merwe getting the five-pointer. Swiel narrowed the gap to 19-38 with the conversion.
Goosen restored normal order with a penalty, 41-19, after 53 minutes.
Van der Merwe thought he had his hat-trick in the hour mark, only for the TMO to rule that he hade lost control of the ball.
The Bulls scored again in the 67th minute – Hendricks getting his second from a set-piece move. Goosen made it 48-19.
WP got their fourth try when replacement hooker Andre-Hugo Venter scored off a line-out move, with Swiel unable to add the conversion – 24-48.
Van der Merwe eventually got his hat-trick a minute from full-time and Swiel made the final score 48-31.
Man of the match: Veteran flank Deon Fourie epitomised the Western Province spirit – giving his best, but ultimately outclassed. As if loose forwards like Elrigh Louw, Arno Botha and captain Marcell Coetzee were not damaging enough, lock Ruan Nortje was winning turnovers at the breakdown to go with his enormous workrate. The game-management and boots of halfbacks Zak Burger and Johan Goosen made the most of the solid platform laid by the pack. Our award goes to the flyhalf and scrumhalf together.
For the Bulls
Tries: Hendriks 2, Goosen, Botha, Mapoe, Coetzee
Cons: Goosen 6
Pens: Goosen 2
For Western Province
Tries: Van der Merwe 3, Dayimani, Venter
Cons: Swiel 3
Bulls: 15 David Kriel, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Madosh Tambwe, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Zak Burger, 8 Elrigh Louw, 7 Arno Botha, 6 Marcell Coetzee (captain), 5 Ruan Nortje, 4 Janko Swanepoel, 3 Mornay Smith, 2 Schalk Erasmus, 1 Gerhard Steenekamp.
Replacements – from: 16 Jan-Hendrik Wessels, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima, 18 Jacques van Rooyen, 19 Jacques du Plessis, 20 WJ Steenkamp, 21 Keagan Johannes, 22 Chris Smith, 23 Stravino Jacobs, 24 Joe van Zyl, 25 Reinhardt Ludwig, 26 Jaco Labuschagne, 27 Marco Jansen van Vuren, 28 Stedman Gans.
Western Province: 15 Sergeal Petersen, 14 Ruhan Nel, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Dan du Plessis, 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Tim Swiel, 9 Paul de Wet, 8 Hacjivah Dayimani, 7 Marcel Theunissen, 6 Deon Fourie, 5 Johan du Toit, 4 Ernst van Rhyn (captain), 3 Sazi Sandi, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Leon Lyons.
Replacements – from: 16 Andre-Hugo Venter, 17 Dian Bleuler, 18 Neethling Fouche, 19 Justin Basson, 20 Nama Xaba, 21 Godlen Masimla, 22 Rikus Pretorius, 23 Tristan Leyds, 24 Warrick Gelant.
Referee: AJ Jacobs
Assistant referees: Aimee Barrett-Theron, Cwengile Jadezweni
TMO: Quinton Immelman