JOHANNESBURG – The Blue Bulls kicked off their Currie Cup challenge with a convincing bonus-point win against hosts, the Cheetahs, in Bloemfontein on Friday night.
In a game that never reached any great heights, the Bulls made the most of the chances they created, with flyhalf Manie Libbok producing an excellent performance in contributing 17 points.
It was the Cheetahs that got the scoreboard rolling though; impressive hooker Joseph Dweba finishing off in the third minute after some good work earlier on in the move by his centre Nico Lee and wing Rabz Maxwane.
Their lead was short-lived though as in the 14th minute the Bulls drew level through Libbok who finished off under the posts after being put away by wing Jamba Ulengo.
But while the home team enjoyed the majority of possession and territory they were unable to make the most of their advantage; the rest of the first half being an uninspiring affair. There was little continuity displayed by both teams and few try-scoring chances were created.
The second 40 minutes was far more entertaining, with the Bulls making the most of the Cheetahs being reduced to 14 men – for the second time in the match after Ox Nche was sent to the sin-bin in the first half. However, it was the home side who scored the first try of the half, through replacement No 9 Shaun Venter, who found space on the blindside and out-paced the defence to go in at the corner.
The score took the Cheetahs into a 12-7 lead, but the Bulls soon hit back through a Libbok penalty before two tries by the visitors swung the game the Bulls’ way.
First, the men from Pretoria were awarded a penalty try when a driving maul was brought down and hooker Edgar Marutlulle was denied a try-scoring chance, with Cheetahs lock Justin Basson sin-binned, and then minutes later wing Jade Stighling finished off after receiving a long pass from Libbok.
The Bulls had gone into a 24-12 lead in a matter of minutes and that soon became 27-12 following a second Libbok penalty. The Bulls then powered to the finish, with fullback Divan Rossouw getting his team’s fourth try in the 80th minute, to seal an emphatic victory first-up.
(PICA) Meanwhile, in the earlier game played in Nelspruit, the Pumas beat Griquas 42-19. The SuperSport Challenge champions ran in five tries to the three scored by the men from Kimberley.
Scorers on the night:
Tries: Libbok, Penalty try, Stighling, Rossouw; Conversions: Libbok (3); Penalties: Libbok (2)