Currie Cup

Blue Bulls book Sharks Currie Cup Semi-final

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The Blue Bulls avoided a Currie Cup promotion/relegation match and booked a place in the Currie Cup Semi-finals with a 29-50 victory over the Golden Lions.

The Golden Lions will now face Western Province in one Semi-final to be held in Johannesburg and the Blue Bulls will face the Natal Sharks in Durban in the other.

The Blue Bulls needed to win the match or at least secure a four try bonus point to ensure that they moved above the Free State Cheetahs.

In contrasting situations having already secured a Semi-final place the Lions made eight changes for the match while the Blue Bulls brought in seven Springboks for the match.

The Blue Bulls took the match to the current Currie Cup champions and led 22-16 at the half-time break.

The visitors’ points came off a try scored by winger Bjorn Basson while flyhalf Morne Steyn contributed the rest of his side’s points with a conversion kick, four penalty conversions and a drop goal.

The Lions scored a try through lock Michael Rhodes with flyhalf Butch James converting and also converting three penalties.

In the second half the Golden Lions managed to edge ahead of the Blue Bulls through Butch James penalty kicks but then the visitors opened up and ran away with the match.

The Lions made a hash of ball in their 25 and Dewald Potgieter managed to secure the ball and score the bonus point try which ensured that his Bulls would face the Sharks in the Semi-finals.

The Pretoria-based side seemed rattled in the opening moments of the match but ran in five-tries-to-two to march on to next weekend’s semi-finals.

Playing with a perceived weakened side, the Lions did not stand back to their provincial neighbours packed with Springbok players.

In the opening moments of the match, it even seemed like the Lions were in for an upset as they took an early 13-3 lead.

The score-line put the Bulls’ hopes of reaching the playoffs at risk with even the last place on the log looming.

The Bulls, however, made a spirited comeback to guarantee a semi-final match against the Sharks in Durban next weekend.

The Pretoria outfit drew first blood as flyhalf Morne Steyn succeeded with his first attempt at goal after four minutes of play.

Three minutes later, Lions flyhalf and captain Butch James slotted a penalty goal for his side, to level the scores.

The Lions then stepped up the intensity as they smothered the Bulls of any possession while they also attacked the line with enterprising play.

James added three more points with his boot before the Lions finally pierced the visitors’ defences when lock Michael Rhodes crossed the whitewash in the 13th minute.

The try resulted from solid interplay by the Lions players with hooker Callie Visagie playing a leading role in the try as he handled the ball twice before offloading to a speeding Rhodes on the sideline, with James converting.

Meanwhile, the Bulls patiently ground their way back in the match, keeping the Lions within sight through Steyn’s accurate kicking.

Steyn slightly closed the gap as he punched over a drop goal in the 26th minute but James returned their lead to 13 points as he succeeded with a penalty kick a minute later.

The Bulls flyhalf brought his side within four points as two of his attempts at goal were on target.

With nine minutes left in the first half, the Bulls scored their first try, when flanker Jacques Potgieter found a gap and sprinted towards the line where he was stopped short.

Potgieter popped the ball to wing Bjorn Basson, who just needed to fall over the line to gather the points, with Steyn converting to give his side a 19-16 lead, before adding another three points shortly before the half-time break.

The Lions levelled the scores shortly after the restart with James succeeding with two penalty kicks.

The visitors, however, stepped up a gear in the 48th minute when scrumhalf Jano Vermaak made a dart for goal after a solid pass from eighthman Arno Botha, with Steyn converting.

The hosts then equalled the scores once again when wing Anthony Volmink went through the middle of a ruck inside the Bulls’ 22 to score, while James converted (29-29).

The Bulls then ran away with the match as they added three more converted tries courtesy of Botha, Dewald Potgieter and Akona Ndungane to secure a playoff spot.

Final Score Golden Lions 29 (16) Blue Bulls 50 (22)

Scorers

Golden Lions
Tries: Michael Rhodes, Anthony Volmink
Conversions: Butch James (2)
Penalties: James (5).

Blue Bulls
Tries: Bjorn Basson, Jano Vermaak, Arno Botha, Dewald Potgieter, Akona Ndungane
Conversions: Morne Steyn (4), Louis Fouche
Penalties: Steyn (4)
Drop goal: Steyn

Teams

Golden Lions

15 Ruan Combrinck , 14 Deon Helberg , 13 Deon Van Rensburg , 12 Alwyn Hollenbach , 11 Anthony Volmink , 10 Butch James (c) , 9 Ross Cronje , 8 Willie Britz , 7 Derick Minnie (vc) , 6 Jaco Kriel , 5 Paul Willemse , 4 Michael Rhodes , 3 Prop Pat Cilliers , 2 Callie Visagie , 1 Prop CJ Van der Linde

Replacements: , 16 Bandise Maku , 17 Jacobie Adriaanse , 18 Franco Van der Merwe , 19Warren Whiteley , 20 Whestley Moolman , 21 Elton Jantjies , 22 Lionel Mapoe

Blue Bulls

Zane Kirchner, Akona Ndungane, JJ Engelbrecht, Francois Venter, Bjorn Basson, Morne Steyn, Jano Vermaak, Arno Botha, Jacques Potgieter, Dewald Potgieter (c), Flip van der Merwe, Juandre Kruger, Werner Kruger, Willie Wepener, Morne Mellett.

Replacements : Chiliboy Ralepelle, Frik Kirsten, Wilhelm Steenkamp, CJ Stander, Francois Hougaard, Louis Fouche, Dean Greyling.

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