The Blue Bulls blew Western Province away on Friday to book their spot in the Currie Cup final. Photo: @BlueBullsRugby/Twitter
The Blue Bulls blew Western Province away on Friday to book their spot in the Currie Cup final. Photo: @BlueBullsRugby/Twitter

Blue Bulls blow Western Province away in first-half blitz to advance to Loftus Currie Cup final

By Ashfak Mohamed Time of article published Sep 3, 2021

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CAPE TOWN – The Bulls not only underlined their superiority in South African rugby by demolishing Western Province 48-31 in Friday’s Currie Cup semi-final, but also showed they are developing a competitive team ahead of the United Rugby Championship.

The Pretoria outfit blew WP away in the first half, charging into a 24-5 lead within 15 minutes, and the game was almost over as a contest at halftime, with the hosts 38-12 ahead.

Province tried to launch a comeback in the second half, with wing Edwill van der Merwe dotting down for a second time, but the Bulls absorbed the pressure and closed out the game to advance to next Saturday’s final at Loftus Versfeld against either the Sharks or Griquas, who face-off in the second semi-final in Durban on Saturday.

Jake White’s Bulls played with much greater intensity and precision compared to last week’s win over the Cheetahs. Their forwards climbed into the WP pack and provided an endless supply of front-foot ball, while flyhalf Johan Goosen called the shots with some wizardry on attack.

After an early Goosen penalty, the Bulls forwards rumbled on through captain Marcell Coetzee and outstanding lock Ruan Nortjé, before the Bulls No 10 threw a terrific long pass to find Cornal Hendricks, who finished easily.

But their second try just two minutes later even surpassed that effort, as several thrilling offloads from the likes of Hendricks, Goosen, David Kriel and Zak Burger saw the Bulls flyhalf round things off for a 17-0 lead.

Van der Merwe got one back for the Capetonians after a quick tap by scrumhalf Paul de Wet, but that didn’t stop the Bulls juggernaut, as centre Harold Vorster knocked Tim Swiel backwards in a strong run, and Arno Botha cruised over for the third try.

It was Province’s defence that let them down, as they gave the Bulls too much momentum with their ball-carries and allowed them to offload in the tackle.

Openside flank Deon Fourie played his heart out in trying to stem the tide, and he was a few breakdown penalties, but he didn’t have enough support from the rest of the forwards.

Province No 8 Hacjivah Dayimani reduced the deficit to 24-12 with a hard-working finish, but Lionel Mapoe and Coetzee added two more tries before halftime to put the Bulls out of reach at 38-12.

To their credit, WP never gave up, and Van der Merwe grabbed his second five-pointer after a great run by fullback Sergeal Petersen.

Van der Merwe nearly got his hat trick when he spun out of a few tackles, but TMO Quinton Immelman ruled that he didn’t have full control of the ball when he placed it, which seemed a bit harsh.

Soon after that, Hendricks benefited from a well-timed inside pass from replacement scrumhalf Keagan Johannes for his brace, and at 48-19, the gap was too big for John Dobson’s team to make up.

Van der Merwe did eventually get his third try in the final seconds, after replacement hooker André-Hugo Venter forced his way over from a lineout maul, but those were only consolation efforts as the Bulls marched on to secure an opportunity to defend their title next week.

Points-Scorers

Bulls 48 – Tries: Cornal Hendricks (2), Johan Goosen, Arno Botha, Lionel Mapoe, Marcell Coetzee. Conversions: Goosen (6). Penalties: Goosen (2).

WP 31 – Tries: Edwill van der Merwe (3), Hacjivah Dayimani, André-Hugo Venter. Conversions: Tim Swiel (3).

@ashfakmohamed

IOL Sport

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