Blue Bulls beat EP Kings in Currie Cup

Jacques du Plessis on the charge for the Blue Bulls

Two second-half yellow cards helped the Blue Bulls secure a 48-27 Currie Cup victory over the EP Kings at Loftus Versfeld on Friday.

The Kings produced some of their best rugby in the competition in the first 40-minutes of the match when they scored two tries after their hosts showed some frailties in defence.

The men from Pretoria, however, bounced back in the second half after Kings hooker Edgar Marutlulle was sent-off shortly after the break. The visiting side’s woes continued when replacement prop Schalk van der Merwe also received his marching orders with 10 minutes remaining in the match.

This meant that the Kings had to complete 20 minutes of the match with only 14-men on the field and the home side took full advantage.

The first five-pointer of the evening was scored by Tim Whitehead although the Bulls stayed in touch with a try by skipper Lappies Labuschange. However, they were not allowed to settle down as the visitors were in good form at the breakdowns.

Eventually, Arno Botha found his way over the try-line after the respective goal-kickers exchanged penalties.

But the final say of the half belonged to the Kings who enjoyed a 20-17 lead at the break after flyhalf Elgar Watts capitalised on a lapse in defence.

Marutlulle was sent off just three minutes after the restart and, with their tails up, the home side scored through Dries Swanepoel who is proving to be one of the season’s top performers at centre.

Swanepoel was promoted to the run-on team after Jan Serfontein joined the Boks as a replacement for injured Springbok skipper Jean de Villiers at the Rugby World Cup.

This opened the proverbial floodgates and soon Francois Hougaard ran in a try from 50 metres out before tighthead prop Werner Kruger joined the party in the 67th minute to take his team 16 points clear (36-20).

Ruan Steenkamp made the game safe in the 71st minute when he dived over from a line-out drive and although the Kings responded with a try by JP du Plessis, they would end the match one five-pointer short of the four-try bonus point.

In a final flurry, Jacques du Plessis took his team’s try-scoring total to seven for the evening when he capitalised on a trademark rolling maul drive.

Final Score Blue Bulls 48 (17) EP Kings 27 (20)

Scorers

Blue Bulls
Tries: Lappies Labuschange, Arno Botha, Dries Swanepoel, Francois Hougaard, Ruan Steenkamp, Werner Kruger, Jacques du Plessis.
Conversions: Tian Schoeman (5)
Penalty: Schoeman

EP Kings
Tries: Tim Whitehead, Elgar Watts, JP du Plessis.
Conversions: Scott Van Breda (3)
Penalties: Van Breda (2)

Match Official
Referee: Lesego Legoete

Teams

Blue Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Dries Swanepoel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Arno Botha, 7 Lappies Labuschagne (c), 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 RG Snyman, 4 Jacques du Plessis, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 Pierre Schoeman

Replacements: 16 Corniel Els, 17 Werner Kruger, 18 Marvin Orie, 19 Ruan Steenkamp, 20 Ivan van Zyl, 21 Louis Fouche, 22 William Small Smith

EP Kings: 15 Scott van Breda, 14 Sylvian Mahuza, 13 JP du Plessis,12 Tim Whitehead (c), 11 Luther Obi, 10 Elgar Watts, 9 Enrico Acker, 8 Jacques Engelbrecht, 7 Stefan Willemse, 6 Thembelani Bholi, 5 Cornell Hess, 4 Steven Sykes (vc), 3 Tom Botha, 2 Martin Ferreira, 1 Lizo Gqoboka

Replacements: 16 Edgar Marutlulle, 17 Schalk Ferreira, 18 Simon Kerrod, 19 Paul Schoeman, 20 Tim Agaba, 21 Dwayne Kelly, 22 Karlo Aspeling

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