Blue Bulls put one past WP
The Blue Bulls claimed a 47-27 Craven Week win over Western Province in Day Two action from Port Elizabeth on Tuesday.
The Blue Bulls claimed a 47-27 Craven Week win over Western Province in Day Two action from Port Elizabeth on Tuesday afternoon.
What a wonderful game of rugby - what enthusiasm and what skill! Only a miserable soul would find fault, and there was no doubt that the Blue Bulls deserved this victory with their remarkable first half and more remarkable second half.
The first half ended with Western Province leading 27-26 and having the benefit of a freshening wind in the second half. They scored no points at all in that half while the Blue Bulls scored 24. Of those 24 points they scored 21 in a rocket explosion of just three minutes.
This year in junior rugby Western Province and the Blue Bulls have competed time and again. Western Province beat them at the LSEN Craven Week, the Under-13 Craven Week, the Academy Week and at the Girls Under-16 tournament. In each case the Blue Bulls and Western Province met in the final. At this Craven Week they will not meet in the final, simply because the Bulls have knocked WP out of contention already. It's a pity because this match would have made a stupendous final.
There was a time when the Western Province were leading 17-7 and seemingly in command. But that was after 16 minutes. Then the Blue Bulls suddenly seemed to lift their heads and knees in confident zest.
Rugby is not a one-man game but it would seem that the fading of Handré Pollard in the match may have dragged Province's fortunes with him. The great prospect seemed to have an injury, but staying on the field and making no contribution of any value to his team. In fact right from the start he was not the orchestrator of victory he is expected to be.
The Blue Bulls kicked and Jason Worrall with gliding speed counterattacked and the Western Province went through many phases, driving forward all the time, till Rikus Bothma took a little pass from JF Vermeulen to score. 7-0 after three minutes.
The Blue Bulls charged straight back. Tall Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg broke close to a tackle/ruck and galloped down the field Worrall tackled him but Western Province were penalised. Massive Pierre Schoeman tapped and simply thrust past Ramone Samuels and JD Schickerling to score near the posts. 7-7 after six minutes.
Pollard goaled a penalty and then from a scrum hear the half-way line, going right, left wing Keagon Gordon cut the defence and gave to Worrall who raced over for a try in the right corner. Pollard converted from afar. 17-7 after 16 minutes.
The game's seesaw bounced faster and higher.
Chad Solomon was penalised at a tackle and the Blue Bulls kicked out. They mauled and then, going left, big Rohan Jansen van Rensburg burst over for a try under the posts. 17-14. The Blue Bulls were back in business.
Pollard kicked and the Blue Bulls ran. On a scissors fullback Jaco Hayward cut through. He gave to Marcus Kleinbooi who raced ahead and, missed by Dalen Goliath, scored the try that gave the Pretoria side a 21-17 lead.
It did not last. Western Province attacked, tapped a kickable penalty and Solomon spun over for a try. 24-21 after 31 minutes. The lead was back with Western Province.
That did not last long either.
From the kick-off Western Province did a box kick and Justin Phillips, well inside his own half, started running. He sped down the field and had just one player in support - massive prop Dayan van der Westhuizen. With 22 metres to run, the scrumhalf gave the prop the ball and the massive man rumbled on. Michal Haznar troubled him as a schnauzer would an elephant. The prop carried the centre with him into in-goal and scored the try. 26-24 to the Blue Bulls after 33 minutes.
Still the lead did not last long for Van der Westhuizen was penalised for obstruction at the kick-off and Pollard goaled. 27-26 to Western Province after 34 minutes. The lead changed three times in three minutes, and it could have changed again but the Blue Bulls missed a penalty kick at goal just before half-time.
Western Province started the second half as if they were going to take over the match but, unlike the first half, they did not turn chances into points. Pollard kicked a soccer kick at goal, Pieter Schoonraad was held up on the line and two five-metre scrums proved profitless.
Caswell Khoza had two good runs down the left wing for the Blue Bulls and Jurie Linde was tackled out at the corner. The Blue Bulls actually got over the line but were held up.
Then came the breakthrough. Blue Bulls won a Western Province line-out for the fourth time in succession. Hayward side-stepped sharply to take a gap and gave the ball on the inside to Linde who scored. 33-27 to the Blue Bulls after 58 minutes, the first of a trilogy of tries in three glorious minutes.
From the kick-off the Blue Bulls won the ball and Phillips started running. With great strength and surprising speed Schoeman went down the right touchline, Heinrich Viljoen charged and the Blue Bulls went left where Hayward sold a big dummy and scored. 40-27 after 59 minutes.
Form the kick-off Phillips kicked a speculator down into the Western Province half where there was a vacant lot. Worrall came across for the ball, which laughed as it bounced away from him and into the arms of Thabo Mabuza who gave inside to Kleinbooi who enjoyed scoring. 47-27 after 61 minutes.
That was it. That was the game. And what a wonderful game!
For Western Province:
Tries: Bothma, Worrall, Solomon
Cons: Pollard 3
Pens: Pollard 2
For the Blue Bulls:
Tries: Schoeman, Janse van Rensburg, Kleinbooi 2, Van der Westhuizen, Linde, Hayward
Cons: Eksteen 6
WP: 15 Jason Worrall, 14 Dale Goliath, 13 Michal Haznar, 12 Wesley Cupido, 11 Grant Hermanus, 10 Handre Pollard (captain), 9 Pieter Schoonraad, 8 Petrus Bothma, 7 Johan Vermeulen, 6 Ramone Samuels, 5 JD Shickerling, 4 Sebastian Ferreira, 3 Liam Hendricks, 2 Chad Solomon, 1 Morne Nortje.
Replacements: 16 Craig Corbett, 17 Wesley Adonis, 18 Cornelis van Niekerk, 19 Cornelius Cooper, 20 Solomon Ferreira, 21 Dennis Cox, 22 Keagon Gordon.
Bulls: 15 Jacobus Hayward, 14 Marcus Kleinbooi, 13 Johannes Linde, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Caswell Khoza, 10 Ryno Eksteen, 9 Justin Phillips, 8 Steven Meiring, 7 Hendrik Viljoen, 6 Sikhumbuzo Mabuza, 5 Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, 4 Hyron Andrews, 3 Arend Bannink, 2 Albrecht Steyn, 1 Pierre Schoeman (captain).
Replacements: 16 Vean Roodt, 17 Dayan van der Westhuizen, 18 Johannes Ras, 19 Arthur De Wee, 20 George-Lee Eramsus, 21 Chad McKay, 22 Marquit September.