Lions unbeaten in Currie Cup after Blue Bulls clash

Jacques van Rooyen of the Lions tackles Roelof Smit of the Blue Bulls

The Golden Lions held on to become the only remanining team in Currie Cup after
beating the Blue Bulls 36-28 at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday.

The Bulls came into the match undefeated and looked to be heading towards a
humiliating defeat, had it not been for a brilliant fight-back effort in the
second half.

In a dream start, the Lions scored as early as the third minute when wing Courtnall
Skosan was on the receiving end of a pinpoint cross-kick by Marnitz Boshoff.

The Lions blew the Blue Bulls off the park with two more tries before the break
and on each occasion it was a case of the home side being unable to deal with
the quick decision-making of their opponents.

First Franco Mostert barged over from close range before Ruan Combrinck took
the easiest of intercepts to put his side well in control of proceedings at
28-0 in the 24th minute.

Boshoff also kicked two penalties and a drop-goal before the half-hour mark
and it took something special from the Blue Bulls to keep their heads up.

Minutes before the break, wing Jamba Ulengo ensured that his team had something
to show for their first-half defensive effort when he raced over after space
was created out wide by fullback Warrick Gelant.

Trailing 30-7 the Blue Bulls tried their best to dictate proceedings during
the opening stage of the second-half, but the Lions were as impressive in defence
as they were from broken play prior to the break.

Eventually, Arno Botha converted from an attacking line-out after the men from
Pretoria executed a rolling maul with pin-point precision.

Flyhalf Tian Schoeman added the extras and after 57-minutes the Bulls were
edging back into the game (33-14).

Blue Bulls substitute Deon Stegmann then added five more points that would
make the dramatic finish a certainty.

Having shrugged off their poor first-half performance the Blue Bulls produced
a passage of play that may have been their best of the season and in dramatic
fashion Ulengo scored his second try in the 58th minute to make it 33-28 with
10-minutes remaining in the match.

Ulengo and Gelant wormed their way through the Lions’ defence with some
footwork that would have impressed most soccer coaches and at the end of the
foot race the two Blue Bulls outside-backs fought each other off to score the
try.

The Lions showed great composure in the closing stages of the match and relied
heavily on men like Jaco Kriel to keep them on the front foot.

As has been the case for more than one season, the Lions scrum prevailed and
from that platform they were able to weather a very intimidating Blue Bulls
storm.

With three minutes remaining in the match, Boshoff made the game save with
a well-struck penalty (36-28) in what turned out to be his team’s only
points of the one-sided half.

Despite their best efforts, the Blue Bulls knew that they had left it too late
as they were unable to break an otherwise well-structured defensive line again.

Final Score Blue Bulls 28 (7) 36 (33)

Scorers

Blue Bulls
Tries : Jamba Ulengo (2), Arno Botha, Deon Stegmann
Conversions: Tian Schoeman (4).

Golden Lions
Tries : Courtnall Skoskan, Franco Mostert, Ruan Combrinck
Penalties:
Conversions: Marnitz Boshoff (3)
Penalties: Boshoff (4)
Drop Goal: Boshoff

Match Officials
Referee:
Marius van der Westhuizen

Teams

Blue Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Dries
Swanepoel, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Francois
Hougaard, 8 Arno Botha, 7 Lappies Labuschagne (c), 6 Roelof Smit, 5 Marvin Orie,
4 Jacques du Plessis, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 Dean Greyling.

Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Werner Kruger, 18 RG Snyman, 19 Deon Stegmann,
20 Ivan van Zyl, 21 Louis Fouche, 22 Burger Odendaal.

Golden Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Stokkies
Hanekom, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Ross Cronje,
8 Fabian Booysen, 7 Stephan de Witt, 6 Jaco Kriel (c), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Martin
Muller, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Jacques van Rooyen.

Replacements: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Julian Redelinghuys, 18 MB Lusaseni, 19 Kwagga
Smith, 20 Jaco van der Walt, 21 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 22 Sampie Mastriet.

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