Bulls overwhelm unlucky Pumas after scrappy start

2014-10-04 00:00

THE Blue Bulls continued their resurgence in the Currie Cup to get into the playoff places with a comprehensive 37-6 bonus point win over the Steval Pumas in Nelspruit last night.

The Pretorians stepped up a gear in the second half after leading 10-6 at half time, running in three more tries and handing the hosts their second consecutive loss at home.

The Bulls struggled to impose themselves on the Cheetahs last week, and it looked as if they would struggle against the enigmatic Pumas, especially as the scrum struggled and handed the hosts the advantage.

But the Pumas, who punch well above their weight, lost their game plan, and their principles, which are based on doing the basics well.

The first half was about as scrappy as you can get from two teams desperately trying to save their season. Both knew this was the final throw of the dice.

The Bulls were more generous in letting the Pumas off the hook by conceding eight penalties to three; including some in good positions. That enabled the hosts to lead 6-3 after 23 minutes.

Then the Pumas were hit with a double blow: No 8 Renaldo Bothma and flank Corne Steenkamp, their dynamic captain, going off within two minutes of each other. Bothma stayed away, having sustained a broken cheekbone.

Immediately after that, the Bulls broke through; scrumhalf Rudy Paige offloading on the switch with Jacques du Plessis who broke through a couple of weak tackles to power his way across the line.

Potgieter converted to give the Bulls a 10-6 lead, which they held through more scrappy play until half time.

The Pumas struggled to chase the game, and numerous handing errors and indiscipline undermined their cause. Within a minute of the resumption, they gave the Bulls a penalty, which Potgieter slotted to bring up his 500th Currie Cup point.

Just six minutes later, the Bulls broke through again, when centre Burger Odendaal stepped and swerved through the Puma defence, taking the ball to within five metres of the line. From the quick recycle, Dean Greyling barged over. He conversion took the score to 20-6.

It was one-way traffic after that, with Piet van Zyl benefiting from a great line-break by Bongi Mbonambi and Deon Stegmann hauled over from a driving maul.


Pumas – Penalties: Justin van Staden (2).

Blue Bulls – Tries: Jacques du Plessis, Dean Greyling, Piet van Zyl, Deon Stegman. Conversions: Jacques-Louis Potgieter (3), Tian Schoeman. Penalties: Potgieter (3).

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