The Bulls are back

Sat, 07 Sep 2013 17:04
Large bulls v cheetahs2 Large bulls v cheetahs Large bulls v cheetahs3

The Blue Bulls put their Currie Cup campaign firmly back on track with a convincing 26-10 win over the Free State Cheetahs in Pretoria on Saturday.

The Blue Bulls put their Currie Cup campaign firmly back on track with a convincing 26-10 win over the Free State Cheetahs in Pretoria on Saturday.

It may have been two-all in the try count, but it was up front where the Bulls made their biggest statement.

Dominating the set pieces and the breakdown, while producing a number of impressive mauls - one which resulted in their second try - the Bulls turned a 3-5 half-time deficit into an emphatic victory at Loftus Versfeld.

The win saw the men from Pretoria move away from last place on the standings, past Griquas - who had lost to the Lions earlier in the day.

The result of the Bulls' forward dominance was that Handré Pollard scored 16 points - two conversions and four penalties, while only missing one long-range effort, to turn in a wonderful all-round performance.

In stark contrast, the Cheetahs' kickers could not succeed with any of their attempts at goal.

The other aspect is that a Bulls team who had so spectacularly imploded in the final quarter in recent matches, finally produced  the 80-minute effort their coach had asked for.

The visitors scored the only try of the first half, with wing Riaan Smit going over the whitewash. The visitors sent the ball through the hands with Sadie tapping the ball to a flying Smit to score the try, with the wing missing with his conversion attempt.

Bulls flyhalf Handré Pollard was successful with a penalty for his side's first half points.

Pollard started the second half in the same way he opened the match, adding three points to the score to hand his side the lead for the second time in the match.

Four minutes later the 19-year-old extended their lead to 9-5 with a successful penalty conversion and, missed another in the 52nd minute.

Pollard, however, landed his fourth goal four minutes later before the Bulls finally scored their first try of the match in the 63rd minute, and the teenager added the extra two points.

Bulls lock Paul Willemse advanced within metres of the line, and only had to stretch out his arm to add the five-pointer.

The Cheetahs launched a fight back with flyhalf Elgar Watts scoring in the 69th minute, but by this time the horse had bolted as he failed with his own conversion attempt.

The hosts put the game to bed when Wian Liebenberg touched down from a rolling maul, with Pollard converting .

Man of the match: Elgar Watts may not have been flawless, but he certainly showed some of the skilful touches that makes him such a magical player. Teboho Mohoje also put in some momentous work. Handré Pollard is starting to settle down in the No.10 jersey, while Paul Willemse added the muscle up front. However, our award goes to Blue Bulls hooker Mbongeni Mbonambi - not only was he strong with his carries, but he was a monster on defence.

The scorers:

For the Blue Bulls:
Tries:
Willemse, W Liebenberg
Cons: Pollard 2
Pens: Pollard 4

For the Free State Cheetahs:
Tries:
Smit, Watts

Teams:

Blue Bulls: 15 Jürgen Visser, 14 Sampie Mastriet, 13 Waylon Murray, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Akona Ndungane, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Ruan Snyman, 8 Jono Ross (captain), 7 Jacques Engelbrecht, 6 Wiaan Liebenberg, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Frik Kirsten, 2 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 1 Marcel van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Werner Kruger, 18 David Bulbring, 19 Jacques du Plessis, 20 Rudy Paige, 21 Ulrich Beyers, 22 Clayton Blommetjies.

Free State Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Riaan Smit, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Robert Ebersohn, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Elgar Watts, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Pieter Labuschagne, 6 Johannes Prinsloo (captain), 5 Lodewyk de Jager, 4 Teboho Mohoje, 3 Rossouw de Klerk, 2 Hercu Liebenberg, 1 Trevor Nyakane.
Replacements: 16 Ethienne Reynecke, 17 Wian du Preez, 18 Waltie Vermeulen, 19 Davon Raubenheimer, 20 Kevin Luiters, 21 Willie du Plessis, 22 Piet Lindeque.

Referee: Stuart Berry
Assistant Referees: Marius Jonker and Cobus Wessels
TMO: Tappe Henning

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Team P W D L Pts
Griquas 7 7 0 0 34
Boland 7 5 0 2 25
Western Province 6 5 0 1 23
Free State Cheetahs 6 4 0 2 22
Pumas 7 4 0 3 21
Griffons 6 4 0 2 19
Golden Lions 6 3 0 3 16
Leopards 6 3 0 3 17
Eagles 6 3 0 3 15
Border 7 3 0 4 14
Sharks 6 2 0 4 12
Falcons 6 2 0 4 12
EP Kings 7 2 0 5 9
Blue Bulls 6 1 0 5 7
Namibia 7 0 0 7 1