Blue Bulls edge Lions to stay alive in Currie Cup

The Blue Bulls kept alive their hopes of a Currie Cup semi-final with a fighting 21-18 victory over the Golden Lions at Ellis Park on Saturday.

Flyhalf Louis Fouche kicked 11 points for the visitors, adding to tries by Jano Vermaak, who scored against his former club, and Warwick Tecklenburg, while they also overcame yellow cards for Dean Greyling and Wynand Olivier.

The Bulls, however, were ultimately aided by some poor decision making from the hosts after the Lions wasted a handful of kickable penalties by gunning for the try-line.

The log-leading Lions fell behind inside the opening two minutes when the Bulls, well aware that defeat would put a massive dent to their playoff aspirations, opened the scoring courtesy of a Vermaak try after the scrumhalf chased down a clever kick from Bjorn Basson on the left.

Fouche added the conversion, but then gifted the hosts three points when he failed to roll away after a tackle on Elton Jantjies, who sent over the penalty from straight in front of the posts.

The Bulls number 10 again played a prominant role for their next try when he broke the line nicely from 20 metres out and, from the ensuing maul, Tecklenburg collected on the go from Vermaak to power his way over.

Fouche missed the conversion but made amends by sending over two further penalties as the Lions uncharacteristically erred in critical areas with the visitors storming to a 15-point lead.

Three minutes before the break, Greyling was sent to the bin for holding on in the tackle — a result of some consistent illegal play by the Pretoria outfit.

Shortly before the break, the Lions were forced to kick when they were given another penalty and Jantjies slotted over to leave them 18-6 behind.

After the restart, the tables turned dramatically as John Mitchell’s men secured their first try inside 50 seconds after Jaco Taute ran wide and passed inside for Michael Killian to score his 28th Currie Cup try.

Four minutes later, Springbok centre Olivier was yellow carded for a late shoulder charge on Jantjies, reducing the Bulls to 13 men.

However, the Lions waited for their opponents to be back to their full quota before striking again, with Cobus Grobbelaar surging over on the

hour mark after a patient move that involved 15 phases.

Jantjies’ conversion struck the upright with the scores level.

Seconds later Fouche put the Bulls back in front with a drop goal, before Arno Botha was denied a try by the television official — a decision that could have gone either way with the ball deemed to have been knocked on.

The Lions then had a chance to at least tie the game in the closing stages, but decided to set up a line-out that came to nothing as the dogged Bulls defence ensured their hosts slipped to only a second loss of the season.

Final Score Lions 18 Blue Bulls 21


Tries: Michael Killian, Cobus Grobbelaar
Conversions: Elton Jantjies
Penalties: Jantjies (2).

Blue Bulls
Tries: Jano Vermaak, Warwick Tecklenburg
Conversions: Louis Fouche
Penalties: Fouche (2)
Drop Goals: Fouche.

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