Blue Bulls book Sharks Currie Cup Semi-final

The Blue Bulls avoided a Currie Cup promotion/relegation match and booked a place in the Currie Cup Semi-finals with a 29-50 victory over the Golden Lions.

The Golden Lions will now face Western Province in one Semi-final to be held in Johannesburg and the Blue Bulls will face the Natal Sharks in Durban in the other.

The Blue Bulls needed to win the match or at least secure a four try bonus point to ensure that they moved above the Free State Cheetahs.

In contrasting situations having already secured a Semi-final place the Lions made eight changes for the match while the Blue Bulls brought in seven Springboks for the match.

The Blue Bulls took the match to the current Currie Cup champions and led 22-16 at the half-time break.

The visitors’ points came off a try scored by winger Bjorn Basson while flyhalf Morne Steyn contributed the rest of his side’s points with a conversion kick, four penalty conversions and a drop goal.

The Lions scored a try through lock Michael Rhodes with flyhalf Butch James converting and also converting three penalties.

In the second half the Golden Lions managed to edge ahead of the Blue Bulls through Butch James penalty kicks but then the visitors opened up and ran away with the match.

The Lions made a hash of ball in their 25 and Dewald Potgieter managed to secure the ball and score the bonus point try which ensured that his Bulls would face the Sharks in the Semi-finals.

The Pretoria-based side seemed rattled in the opening moments of the match
but ran in five-tries-to-two to march on to next weekend’s semi-finals.

Playing with a perceived weakened side, the Lions did not stand back to their
provincial neighbours packed with Springbok players.

In the opening moments of the match, it even seemed like the Lions were in
for an upset as they took an early 13-3 lead.

The score-line put the Bulls’ hopes of reaching the playoffs at risk with even
the last place on the log looming.

The Bulls, however, made a spirited comeback to guarantee a semi-final match
against the Sharks in Durban next weekend.

The Pretoria outfit drew first blood as flyhalf Morne Steyn succeeded with
his first attempt at goal after four minutes of play.

Three minutes later, Lions flyhalf and captain Butch James slotted a penalty
goal for his side, to level the scores.

The Lions then stepped up the intensity as they smothered the Bulls of any
possession while they also attacked the line with enterprising play.

James added three more points with his boot before the Lions finally pierced
the visitors’ defences when lock Michael Rhodes crossed the whitewash in the
13th minute.

The try resulted from solid interplay by the Lions players with hooker Callie
Visagie playing a leading role in the try as he handled the ball twice before
offloading to a speeding Rhodes on the sideline, with James converting.

Meanwhile, the Bulls patiently ground their way back in the match, keeping
the Lions within sight through Steyn’s accurate kicking.

Steyn slightly closed the gap as he punched over a drop goal in the 26th minute
but James returned their lead to 13 points as he succeeded with a penalty kick
a minute later.

The Bulls flyhalf brought his side within four points as two of his attempts
at goal were on target.

With nine minutes left in the first half, the Bulls scored their first try,
when flanker Jacques Potgieter found a gap and sprinted towards the line where
he was stopped short.

Potgieter popped the ball to wing Bjorn Basson, who just needed to fall over
the line to gather the points, with Steyn converting to give his side a 19-16
lead, before adding another three points shortly before the half-time break.

The Lions levelled the scores shortly after the restart wit

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