MATCH REPORT: The Bulls have won a closely contested Currie Cup affair when they beat the Lions 33-32 at Ellis Park on Saturday.
It was clear both teams were playing for survival in this hugely entertaining match as they attempted to move up the ladder on the table to get within reach of the top four spots. With this win the Bulls move sixth on the log and the Lions drop to seventh.
It had all the elements – two disallowed tries which would have given Lions wing Edwill van der Merwe a hat-trick, a one-point difference with minutes to go and a last gasp drop goal attempt that went awry.
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The Bulls got the first points through a try by Elrigh Louw and quickly followed that up with a try by David Kriel to take an early lead of 12-0.
Minutes later the Lions’ Francke Horn pounced on a ball lost by Bulls scrumhalf Embrose Papier behind the scrum. He kicked the rolling ball forward and managed to secure it to score the try.
Papier immediately tried to make up for the blunder with what he thought was a try, but it was disallowed. But not deterred, the nuggety scrumhalf dove over minutes later when he caught the Lions off-guard with a quick snipe from behind the scrum to put the Bulls ahead by 19-7.
Barely two minutes later it was the turn of the big Bulls forward Mornay Smith to get on the try scoring list, again converted by Goosen.
A penalty kick by Sanele Nohamba lifted the Lions tails and they rumbled ahead after time spent in the visitors 22m to secure a penalty try which also saw Bulls hooker Johan Grobbelaar sent to the sin bin.
A try by Lions wing Edwill van der Merwe was also disallowed just before half-time.
But the speedster would go on to score two more tries, one which could be hailed as the try of the season which started in the Lions’ own 22m and saw him zig-zag his way through the whole Bulls defence and score a magnificent try in the 45th minute.
The teams entered the tunnel at half-time with the Bulls leading by 26-20.
It was the Van der Merwe show for the Lions in the second half with the Bulls only managing to add one more try their tally of five tries.
His try in the 70th minute made it a one-point game with eight minutes left on the clock and the Bulls leading by 33-32.
The Bulls were mauling in the Lions half, but the home-side put up a massive defensive effort.
Minutes later the Lions were on the attack, securing a penalty. They looked up the touchline and the maul that followed saw the Bulls steal the ball and kick for clearance.
As the clock wind down the game, the Lions again attempted the rolling maul knowing they have to score. The pass went to Lombard for a drop-kick but it went wide, handing the Bulls a narrowly fought victory.
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Scores and scorers:
For the Lions:
Tries: Horn, Penalty try, Van der Merwe 2
Cons: Nohamba 2, Lombard
Pen: Nohamba 2
For the Bulls:
Tries: Louw, Kriel, Papier, Smith, Coetzee
Cons: Goosen 4
Yellow cards: Johan Grobbelaar (Bulls, 30’ for cynical play)
Lions: 15 Quan Horn, 14 Boldwin Hansen, 13 Manuel Rass, 12 Tyler Bocks, 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Gianni Lombard, 9 Sanele Nohamba, 8 Francke Horn, 7 Emmanuel Tshituka, 6 Johannes Pretorius, 5 Ruben Schoeman, 4 Ruan Venter, 3 Asenathi Ntlabakanye, 2 Jaco Visagie (captain), 1 Rhynardt Rijnsburger.
Replacements: 16 Pieter Botha , 17 Ruan Dreyer, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Darrien-Lane Landsberg, 20 Ruhan Straeuli, 21 Nico Steyn, 22 Stean Pienaar, 23 Andries Coetzee.
Bulls: 15 David Kriel, 14 Sibongile Novuka, 13 Stedman Gans, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Marco Jansen van Vuren, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Embrose Papier, 8 Elrigh Louw, 7 Nizaam Carr, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Ruan Nortje (captain), 4 Ruan Vermaak, 3 Mornay Smith, 2 Johan Grobbelaar, 1 Gerhard Steenekamp.
Replacements: 16 Jan-Hendrik Wessels, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima, 18 Francois Klopper, 19 Charlie Ewels, 20 Cyle Brink, 21 Keagan Johannes, 22 Chris Barend Smit, 23 Cornal Hendricks.
Referee: Aimee Barrett-Theron
Assistant Referees: Local
TMO: Marius van der Westhuizen