Blue Bulls trounce Pumas
The Blue Bulls made it two from two at the 2012 Craven Week, as they claimed a comfortable 36-10 win over the Pumas in Day Four action in PE.
The Blue Bulls made it two from two at the 2012 Craven Week, as they claimed a comfortable 36-10 win over the Pumas in Day Four action at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Thursday.
The Blue Bulls picked up where they left off on Tuesday - when they beat Western Province 47-27 - to run in five tries against the Men from Witbank, who themselves had impressed on Day Two during their 48-24 win over the Griffons.
The Bulls, Lions and hosts Eastern Province are the only sides who remain unbeaten going into Friday's rest day, and all three have staked strong claims to be named to take part in the showpiece final match on Saturday. (That will be announced by SARU at a later stage.)
The Pumas actually opened the scoring through a Brandon Thomson penalty in the third minute, before the Bulletjies opened their account with a ninth-minute penalty by flyhalf Ryno Eksteen.
The Men from Pretoria had things sewn up by half-time, thanks to first-half tries from winger Marquit September and prop Arend Bannink, who grabbed a brace. Fyhalf and Man of the Match Ryno Eksteen kicked two conversions.
With the Bulls set-piece operating at full tilt, massive tighthead Bannink made his presence felt in open play when his try double in minutes 22 and 34 - both converted by Eksteen - gave them a 24-3 half-time advantage.
There was to be no let up from the Light Blues as Eksteen got the second half underway and it was his halfback partner, George-Lee Erasmus, who sliced through for try No.4 in the 36th minute. Eksteen obliged with the extras and it was 31-3 to the Bulls.
Eksteen, clearly tired of 'just' adding the extras, joined the list of try-scorers himself in the 44th minute. He missed the conversion for his own try, but suddenly an even bigger rout was on the cards.
However, credit must go to Pumas who did not give up in the face of a 3-36 deficit and they soon had winger Abednigo Mashabane come close to the Bulls goalline - only for him to be bundled out into touch.
The Pumas eventually touched down with 18 minutes left when flanker Willandre Kotzenberg went over for flyhalf Thomson to convert and cut the deficit to 26 points. But that's as close as they got to the tournament's form team.
The match lost a bit of shape towards the end, as four substitutes came and went, but the Bulls had done more than enough to come away with another win and, no doubt, edge closer to a place in Saturday's main match at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
* There were also wins on Thursday for Griquas Country Districts, Limpopo, the Griffons and WP, who beat SWD 39-33 in the main curtain-raiser in a highly entertaining match that produced 11 tries.
For the Blue Bulls:
Tries: September, Bannink 2, Erasmus, Eksteen
Cons: Eksteen 4
For the Pumas:
Bulls: 15 Jacobus Hayward, 21 Chad McKay, 13 Johannes Linde, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 22 Marquit September, 10 Ryno Eksteen, 20 George-Lee Eramsus, 8 Steven Meiring, 7 Hendrik Viljoen, 6 Sikhumbuzo Mabuza, 23 Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, 19 Arthur De Wee, 3 Arend Bannink, 16 Vean Roodt, 18 Johannes Ras.
Replacements: 2 Albrecht Steyn, 1 Pierre Schoeman, 17 Dayan van der Westhuizen, 4 Hyron Andrews, 9 Justin Phillips, 11 Caswell Khoza, 14 Marcus Kleinbooi.
Pumas: 15 Lindelwe Zungu, 14 Karabo Makola, 13 Bernardus Johnstone, 12 Donavan Gissing, 22 Abednigo Mashabane, 10 Brandon Thomson, 20 Impi Visser, 8 Jano Venter, 7 Daniel Maartens, 6 Willandre Kotzenberg, 5 Christopher van Leeuwen, 19 Menzi Nhlabathi, 3 Jeremia Gouws, 2 Wilmar Arnoldi, 17 Philani Ngwato.
Replacements: 16 Siphephelo Vilakazi, 1 Jon Pierre Herbst, 4 Thulane Mkhonto, 18 Michael Basson, 9 Jacobus Wolmarans, 21 Harabith Mojalefa, 11 Vincent Sibiya.