Blue Bulls see off plucky Pumas in Pretoria
CURRIE CUP REPORT: The Blue Bulls picked up their third win of the season when they beat the Pumas 39-29 at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Friday.
The Bulls outscored their opponents by six tries to four in the game and the bonus-point victory sent them to the top of the Currie Cup standings ahead of Saturday’s big match between the Golden Lions and Western Province.
After a frenetic start to the game, it was the Pumas who opened the scoring in the seventh minute via a Christopher Smith penalty.
However, it did not take long for the Bulls to hit back. After a strong driving maul and a few good carries, it was captain Hanro Liebenberg who stretched over for the first try in the ninth minute.
The Bulls were in again a few minutes late when some great offloading saw wing Jade Stighling sprinting in for the try.
The Pumas were then given a bit of a reprieve when Bulls centre Johnny Kotze was given a yellow card in the 15th minute for foul play.
Despite being a man down, the Bulls continued to dominate the game and some excellent handling in the Pumas’ 22 led to a try for Dayan van der Westhuizen in the 22nd minute.
The Pumas finally got their first try of the game after a driving maul helped Marnus Schoeman over the tryline in the 26th minute.
The visitors were in against six minutes later when Marko Janse van Rensburg went over the tryline from another powerful driving maul in the Bulls’ 22. After Smith’s conversion, the Pumas were just two points behind the Bulls.
However, the Pumas hard work was undone when they failed to secure the ball from the restart before the Bulls sent the ball wide to Stighling who went over for his second try of the game.
The final points of the first half came via a Manie Libbok penalty to stretch the Bulls’ lead to 10 points.
That lead was extended 13 minutes into the second half when scrumhalf Ivan van Zyl scored a try after some clever interplay between himself and hooker Jaco Visagie from a line-out.
To have any chance of winning the game, the Pumas needed to be the next to score and they did just that when Neill Maritz ran in for his team’s third try in the 61st minute after a nice move from the base of a scrum.
However, the game was wrapped up in the 76th minute when some great skill form Duncan Matthews put Jano Venter into space to run in for the Bulls’ sixth try.
The Pumas had the final say of game with a Morne Joubert try, but it was too little and too late.
Man of the match: Blue Bulls flyhalf Manie Libbok had some nice touches on attack, while Jade Stighling impressed with his finishing out wide. For the Pumas, Marnus Schoeman had a high work rate and he was one of his team’s try scorers. However, the award goes to Bulls No.7 Nic de Jager who had an impressive showing with ball in hand.
For Blue Bulls:
Tries: Liebenberg, Stighling 2, Van der Westhuizen, Van Zyl, Venter
Cons: Libbok 3
Tries: Schoeman. Janse van Rensburg, Maritz, Joubert
Cons: Smith 3
Yellow card: Johnny Kotze (Blue Bulls, 15 – foul play)
* PODCAST: Listen to the @rugby365com team as they analyse the weekend’s games …
Blue Bulls: 15 Divan Rossouw, 14 Jade Stighling, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Franco Naude, 11 Duncan Matthews, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Hanro Liebenberg (captain), 7 Nic de Jager, 6 Ruan Steenkamp, 5 Eli Snyman, 4 Hendre Stassen, 3 Dayan der Westhuizen, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Matthys Basson.
Replacements: 16 Edgar Marutlulle, 17 Conrad van Vuuren, 18 Ruan Nortje, 19 Jano Venter, 20 Andre Warner, 21 Tinus de Beer, 22 Dylan Sage.
Pumas: 15 Devon Williams, 14 Morné Joubert, 13 Neill Maritz, 1 12 Ryan Nell, 11 Ruwellyn Isbel; 10 Christopher Smith, 9 Stefan Ungerer; 8 Willie Engelbrecht, 7 Stefan Willemse, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Hugo Kloppers (captain), 4 Le Roux Roets, 3 Andrew Beerwinkel, 2 Marko Janse van Rensburg, 1Khwezi Mona.
Replacements: 16 Simon Westraadt, 17 De-Jay Terblanche, 18 Hilton Lobberts, 19 Francois Kleinhans, 20 Abrie Griesel, 21 Kobus Marais, 22 Henko Marais.
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistant referees: Jaco Pretorius, Christopher Allison
TMO: Lesego Legoete