The teams each scored only one try, and there was an irony in each try
The Blue Bulls beat Western Province 22-13 to take the Under-21 Final for 2012. They were the stronger side on the day.
That said, the teams each scored only one try, and there was an irony in each try.
The first few minutes showed how the two teams wanted to play. The Blue Bulls kicked the first three balls they got and Western Province ran those first three kicks back at the Blue Bulls. Then the Blue Bulls try was scored by simple passing to the man next to you while the Western Province try was set up by a grubber kick.
Teams do not always stick to what they set out to do. Early in the game the Western Province fullback Cheslin Kolbe, who is clearly a great talent with his array of skills, speed and vision, grubbered and for Blue Bulls ran it back. In the next period of play Western Province made 16 tackles, the last one when they got an opponent just out at the corner. In fact when Western Province also got into kicking they forced a multitude of tackles on themselves as the Blue Bulls started running at them - and the running of the big men from Pretoria was sore. That they scored only one try is testimony to Western Province determination and to the limits of their own skills.
Eventually the difference in the scoring was made up by penalties. Each team was penalised nine times but for Western Province it was too often in their own territory as the Blue Bulls applied pressure.
Western Province opened the scoring with a penalty after 2 minutes but seven minutes later Tian Schoeman levelled the scores. This came after they bashed from a scrum free kick. The Blue Bulls very much had the upper hand and Western Province must have longed for their tight five which was playing in the =Currie Cup Final.
The half ended 12-6 in the Blue Bulls' favour - four penalties to two.
A kick by Kolbe and his chase nearly gave Western Province a try early in the second half but Schoeman, coming across in defence, managed to surf the ball into touch.
Marvin Orie of the Blue Bulls won a turnover that set the Blue Bulls attacking. They went wide left with simple passes and Damian van Wyk was over in the right corner, whence Schoeman converted. 19-6.
A penalty by Tony Jantjies for holding on in a tackle made it 22-6 with 11 minutes to play but Western Province did not give up. Substitute scrumhalf Golden Masimla went left from a tackle/ruck and grubbered cleverly far ahead. Chasing and out on his own Clearance Khumalo gathered the ball and scored the try.
Man of the Match: Tian Schoeman who scored and saved a score.
For the Blue Bulls:
Try: Damian van Wyk
Con: Tian Schoeman
Pens: Tian Schoeman 5
For Western Province:
Try: Clearance Khumalo
Con: Cheslin Kolbe
Pen: Cheslin Kolbe 2
Blue Bulls: Ulrich Beyers, Damian van Wyk, William Small-Smith, François Venter, Travis Ismaiel, Tian Schoeman, Lohan Jacobs, Arno Botha, Wiaan Liebenberg (captain), Shaun Adendorff, Marvin Orie, Mike Williams, Hencus van Wyk, Bongi Mbonambi, Juan Schoeman.
Replacements: Jaco Visagie, Basil Short, Victor Hechter, Jean Cook, Emile Temperman, Tony Jantjies, Christopher Bosch.
Western Province: Cheslin Kolbe, Dillyn Leyds, JP du Plessis, Kobus van Wyk, Pat Howard, Timothy Swiel, Ricky Schroeder (captain), Ryan Smid, JP Swanepoel, Joshua Katzen, Gerbrandt Grobler, Jan de Klerk, Oliver Kebble, Neil Rautenbach, François van Wyk
Replacements: Stephan Coetzee, Kelvin de Bruyn, Jean Kleyn, Jody Reyneke, Golden Masimla, Clearance Khumalo, Dean Hammond.
Referee: Lourens van der Merwe
Assistant referees: Sindile Mayende, Stefan Breytenbach
Television match official: Gerrie Coetzee
Assessor: Keith Hendricks