James Venter of the Lions during the 2019 Currie Cup Rugby match against the Blue Bulls at Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg on Saturday. Photo: Christiaan Kotze/BackpagePix

PRETORIA – A remarkable 14-man effort earned the Blue Bulls a 31-26 victory over the Golden Lions at Ellis Park on Saturday.

The win will not reverse their lost Currie Cup campaign but lifted the Blue Bulls from the bottom of the Currie Cup log and out of the promotion-relegation play-off zone.

The Pretoria side's character came to the fore after copping a red card and two yellows against a side that has gone unbeaten before this clash.

The Pretoria side was outnumbered for an hour thanks to debutant Fred Eksteen earning a red card before Andries Ferreira was shown yellow with 20 minutes to go. Dylan Sage copped a yellow after the hooter sounded which ultimately proved inconsequential.

Blue Bulls flyhalf Manie Libbok lead the charge, finally finding his feet after a host of inconsistent performances as the first-choice pivot.

Libbok made a rich contribution to the side adding 21 points to the victory, scoring a try, converting two more and landing four penalties.

The Blue Bulls celebrate after winning the match against the Lions at Emirates Airlines Park on Saturday. Photo: Christiaan Kotze/BackpagePix

Coach Pote Human said he was delighted with Libbok’s effort.

“Manie was excellent, and he was back to what we know he can do, he is a talented guy. He made mistakes, but everyone makes mistakes, but he was awesome tonight. He was our Man of the Match in the change room,” Human said.

“He had a tough week, especially after the Griquas game, we didn’t finish our opportunities and today the few we got, we used, and we converted.

“The guys decided to play for each other, play as a team and play for the blue jersey because it is still an honour and a privilege to play for the Blue Bulls.”

Manie Libbok receiving his Player of the Match prize. Photo: Christiaan Kotze/BackpagePix

Human praised his team for their composure following Eksteen’s departure and instilling some pride in jersey.

“Hats off to the guys, the character they showed with 14 then 13 men was unbelievable,” Human said. “The red card shocked the guys for five minutes, the Lions came back, but after that, it didn’t look like we were playing with only 14 guys.”

The side will enjoy a bye weekend ahead of their final clash of the season against the Sharks at Loftus Versfeld.

@ockertde

 

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