South Africa’s Bulls returned from the June break last week and surprised the Sharks in Durban. This weekend they will have home advantage.
The Kings will, however, be on a high as they travelled to Argentina last week and upset the Jaguares in Buenos Aires.
The Eastern Province men have rallied to some memorable wins in the latter rounds of the competition and will be looking to put one over the Bulls.
We are waiting for the kick-off.
1.00: BEEP! BEEP! We are underway; referee Federico Anselmi, gets us going in Pretoria. There is not any wind to speak of and the temperature is 15 degrees, but conditions on the dry, Highveld will be conducive to running rugby.
2.00: The Bulls attempt to run from their own 22, spill the ball, and the Kings put them under pressure after the scrum, eventually, winning a penalty in front of the poles.
3.00: PENALTY! Lionel Cronjé gets his team on the board: 0-3
5.00: It’s the Bulls who come roaring back, winning a penalty just outside the Kings’ 22. Tian Schoeman calls for the tee.
6.00: PENALTY! Tian Schoeman levels the scores: 3-3
8.00: The referee is consulting for a forward pass in the build-up to a try. It is forward, so the Bulls get the ball for a scrum inside their 22. Danger signs already; that was too easy from the lineout by the Kings.
11.00: TRY Makazole Mapimpi! The Kings make in-roads in the Bulls’ defence. They go wide, taking out Bulls defenders before the speedster puts on the afterburners to score: 3-8
12.00: Cronjé makes no mistake from out wide: 3-10
15.00: Andisa Ntsila and Luzuko Vulindlu smoke Jan Serfontein in the tackle, but Vulindi is penalised for not rolling away. Schoeman kicks deep and the Bulls go wide from the lineout, but end up botching the play with some ordinary passing and handling.
17.00: The Kings have possession again, this time, after going wide, Cronjé probes the Bulls’ back-three with a wonderful raking kick, that goes out on the 5-metres line. Stunning kick.
19.00: The Kings forwards are in control of the early exchanges and are getting the go-forward ball at the maul and around the fringes. The Bulls are hanging on here.
22.00: TRY Travis Ismaiel? It is end-to-end in Pretoria; first Serfontien starts a counter-attack, but the ball is lost. the Kings come back but lose the ball. Eventually, the Bulls get another chance, and after some deft handling, the wing scores: 8-10
22.00: Wait, we are having a look at a dangerous tackle on Cronjé in the lead up to the score.
22.00: NO TRY, YELLOW CARD! Jason Jenkins is sent to the sin-bin for a high tackle on the Kings’ flyhalf: 3-10
24.00: The Kings are awarded another penalty and kick to the corner: they want seven, not three.
25.00: TRY! Cronjé, who else? The Kings go several phases in the attack, pulling the Bulls around the park. the move almost breaks down, but after some good handling, some pick and goes, the standoff crashes over, under the posts from close range: 3-15
26.00: The flyhalf converts his own try: 3-17
28.00: YELLOW CARD! Wandile Mjekevu is in the bin now, for a high shot.
29.00: The Bulls attack, but Louis Schreuder gathers a dropped ball and starts a counter-attack, however, the pass is dropped and the breakaway is halted.
30.00: The Kings win the scrum penalty and Cronjé kicks a long kick into the oppositions’ 22.
32.00: The handling errors are starting to mount for both sides. The game is being played at a frenetic pace, but the final ball is, mostly, poor.
34.00: TRY Malcolm Jaer! It’s Lionel Barrett with the cross-kick, Chris Cloete collects and offloads to the supporting Jaer. The fullback burns Ruan Steenkamp and gets the Kings’ third try of the half: 3-22
35.00: Lionel Cronjé cannot adds the extras: 3-22
39.00: The Kings are on the attack, again, but are penalised at the ruck. Schoeman clears his side’s lines, but they are all at sea.
40.00: Mapimpi starts another attack, this time from his try-line and he almost goes all the way. Somehow, he is ankle-tapped and the Bulls counter-attack
42.00: TRY Jason Jenkins, back from the bin! A bulldozing run from Adriaan Strauss sets up the lock for the try; the home team REALLY needed that: 8-22
43.00: Tian Schoeman reduces the gap to 12 points at the break: 10-22
The half-time score was Bulls 10 Kings 22
41.00: BEEP! BEEP! We are back underway in Pretoria. The Bulls hit back before half time, but it has been all Kings in the first-half.
43.00: The Kings win a turnover inside their 22, go up the field with supporting runners before Lionel Cronjé kicks the ball dead. It will be the Bulls scrum near the 10-metres line, in Bulls territory.
43.00: TRY Duncan Matthews! The Bulls go quickly from first phase ball, Warrick Gelant joins the line and sends the winger away. Matthews still had to swerve Jaer and beat Mapimpi before scoring in the corner: 15-22
44.00: Tian Schoeman makes it a five-point ballgame: 17-22
47.00: The momentum has shifted 180 degrees to the home side. They are attacking with purpose and eliminating their handling errors. The visitors need to get possession to halt the blue tide.
50.00: Tian Schoeman pings the Kings back in their 22 with a wonderful grubber kick into touch.
51.00: The Bulls win a penalty and kick to touch, five metres out. Schoeman goes for a cross-kick, but the ball is claimed in the in-goal area. However, the ref comes back for another penalty, so the Bulls opt for another lineout.
52.00: TMO! Ruan Steenkamp looks to have scored, but the replay shows that Louis Schreuder and Makazole Mapimpi stripped the ball from the flanker. Scrum to the Kings on their 5-metres line for the knock on.
55.00: The Bulls continue to mount wave after wave of attacks on their opponents. They are awarded a scrum, inside the 22, near centre field – good field position for an attack.
58.00: The Bulls win a scrum penalty, go through some phases, win another and Schoeman kicks the ball away. They opt for poles this time.
59.00: PENALTY! Schoeman makes it a two-point game: 20-22
61.00: The Kings get the midfield scrum after the eleventh handling mistake by the Bulls; the Kings have made seven.
63.00: After some helter-skelter play and ‘hot potato’ handling by the Kings, the ball is lost and the Bulls clear. Somehow, the visitors regain possession and go again. The tackling is getting ferocious at in the middle.
64.00: Serfontein makes a break and nearly scores, but for some last-ditch tackling. The Bulls get the penalty and kick to touch, five metres out. The Bulls go to their driving maul, but lose the ball and the Kings clear. Great work in the maul by the PE men.
65.00: YELLOW CARD! Lubabalo Mtyanda is off for killing the ball at the ruck; very cynical and stupid by the lock forward: why do that, especially in front of the referee?
66.00: PENALTY! Tian Schoeman will not miss that and the Bulls lead for the first time in the match: 23-22
67.00: DROP GOAL! The lead does not last long, the Kings mount an attack, Cronjé drops back in the pocket, collects Louis Schreuder’s good pass and slots the three-pointer: 23-25
71.00: The Kings get the put into the scrum near the sideline but in Bulls territory. They go through the phases and earn a penalty. Will they take the shot?
73.00: Wait, Cronjé tries the André Joubert and looks to run the ball instead of kicking, but the referee calls him back, as he had already signalled for poles.
74.00: PENALTY! Cronjé extends the Kings’ slender lead to five: 23-28
76.00: The Bulls have really come back into the match in a big way, they are just losing the only statistic that counts: the score.
77.00: TRY Jaco Visagie! Game tying score by the substitute. Serfontein made the initial break before being tackled, the Bulls recycled the ball quickly before Visagie took route one to score: 28-28
78.00: Schoeman adds the conversion and the Bulls lead with a minute to play: 30-28
80.00: The Kings maul their way to Bulls line and win a penalty: Wow! Cronjé has a chance to win the game for the Port Elizabeth team.
81.00: PENALTY! CRONJÉ WINS THE GAME! It’s pandemonium on the field and in the coaches’ booth! What a result! 30-31
The final score is Bulls 30 (10) Kings 31 (22)
Tries – Jenkins, Matthews
Pen – T. Schoeman (3)
Con – T. Schoeman (3)
Cards – Jenkins (Yellow, 22nd minute)
Tries – Mapimpi, Cronjé, Jaer
Pen – Cronjé (3)
Con – Cronjé (2)
Drop – Cronjé
Cards – Mjekevu (Yellow, 28th minute), Mtyanda (Yellow, 65th minute)
Referee: Federico Anselmi
Assistant Ref 1: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant Ref 2: Rasta Rasivhenge
TMO: Johan Greeff
15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Duncan Matthews, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Nic de Jager, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Ruan Steenkamp, 5 Rudolph Snyman, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Conrad van Vuuren, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Lizo Gqoboka.
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Pierre Schoeman, 18 John-Roy Jenkinson, 19 Ruben van Heerden, 20 Shaun Adendorff, 21 Andre Warner, 22 Tinus de Beer, 23 Burger Odendaal.
15 Malcolm Jaer, 14 Wandile Mjekevu, 13 Berton Klaasen, 12 Luzuko Vulindlu, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Lionel Cronjé (captain), 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Andisa Ntsila, 7 Tyler Paul, 6 Chris Cloete, 5 Lubabalo Mtyanda, 4 Irne Herbst, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Michael Willemse, 1 Mzamo Majola.
Replacements: 16. Martin Bezuidenhout, 17. Schalk Ferreira, 18. Dayan van der Westhuizen, 19. Mzwanele Zito, 20. Thembelani Bholi, 21. Stefan Ungerer, 22. Masixole Banda, 23. Yaw Penxe