Eastern Province held their nerve to record a nail-biting 19-17 victory over the Blue Bulls at the 2010 Coca Cola Craven in Welkom on Monday.
The Port Elizabeth side held a 16-0 half time lead after scrumhalf Jaco Grobler and Llwellyn Pieterse scored two early tries while flyhalf Franz Botha kicked two penalties before the break.
However the Blue Bulls hit back after the restart and ran in three tries which were scored by winger winger Patrick Maponya, No 8 Nardus van der Walt and prop Luan de Bruyn. Rudi van Rooyen converted Maponya’s try to steer the Blue Bulls to a 17-16 lead.
However with five minutes remaining in the match, Botha kicked his third penalty of the match to regain the lead for EP (19-17).
The Blue Bulls had one final flourish in the final minutes of the game to snatch victory, but were held up on the try line due to the tigerish defence of the Eastern Province side.
Blue Bulls – Try: Luan de Bruyn, Nardus van der Walt, Patrick Maponya; Conversion: Rudi van Rooyen.
Eastern Province – Tries: Jaco Grobler, Llwellyn Pieterse; Penalties: Franz Botha (3).