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Brummer snatches it for Bulls at the end
Ken Borland
MWP
May 07, 2010
The fates conspired wickedly against the Free State Cheetahs as a drop goal after the hooter by Blue Bulls flyhalf Francois Brummer snatched a dramatic 31-29 victory in the Vodacom Cup final at Loftus B on Friday.

The Cheetahs controlled the first half, going into the break 16-8 up, before conceding a 22-28 lead. But the visitors seemed to have snatched victory themselves when prop Riaan Vermuelen was driven over for a try, converted by Louis Strydom, to put the Free Staters 29-28 up in the dying minutes.

But Brummer conspired to knock over a magical, long-range drop goal after the hooter, a kick that is literally worth a million bucks.

The Bulls, unbeaten through the competition, strangely kept their best talents hidden for much of the match. They hardly turned up in the first half and only really played in the opening half-hour of the second half.

The home team started strongly, with a Brummer penalty from the kick-off, but possession and momentum was at a premium for them for the rest of the first half as they stacked up penalties against them by referee Jason Jaftha at an alarming rate.

Strydom, given fine service by his forwards, was able to run the show with his boot and he kicked three penalties in the first half and also provided the conversion for centre Barry Goodes's try.

Eighthman and captain Gerrit-Jan van Velze grabbed a try for the Bulls, which was really a team effort as practically everyone handled as they advanced to the tryline and then created space in the corner for the try.

A penalty in the first minute of the second half by Strydom gave the Cheetahs a wonderful platform to close out the game, extending their lead to 19-8.

But the Bulls then scored two tries in three minutes and will point out that they are deserved champions because they won the try-count 3-1 and also overcame the brunt of Jaftha's whistling.

The first of the tries came after the Bulls probed and probed the Cheetahs defence, a determined run on the inside by Van Velze eventually opening a gap and allowing centre Deon Helberg to go over.

Brummer, who had, much to his anger, missed a couple of kicks earlier, slotted the conversion and the Bulls were beginning to rise from the tomb, narrowing the gap to 15-19.

Brummer then made an inside break that led to a try out wide by Ernst Dinkelman, who had earlier replaced John Mametsa on the wing, after the veteran suffered a leg injury.

Brummer converted, before one of his trademark snap drop goals continued the thrilling Bulls' comeback and gave them a 25-19 lead.

Replacement wing Wayne Stevens then earned the Cheetahs a crucial penalty by stealing the ball at a ruck, after impressive Bulls fullback Tiger Mangweni had run an up-and-under back.

Strydom's kick made it 25-22, but, in the 73rd minute, the Bulls' juggernaut pack rumbled their way to a scrum penalty, which Brummer converted.

The Bulls were 28-22 up and inside Cheetahs territory, but Strydom came up with a brilliant long-distance clearing kick to send his team on to the opposing try-line.

When the TMO confirmed Vermuelen had been driven over the line after a couple of penalties, it looked as if the Cheetahs had claimed their second Vodacom Cup title to match their success in 2000.

But the Bulls then won a penalty just inside the Cheetahs half and surprisingly did not go for poles. They tapped and ran instead, the ball going through a couple of phases before being passed back to Brummer, hanging back in the pocket. It wasn't a cushy kick by any means, being from 45 metres with defenders bearing down on him, but there were yells of joy from his teammates long before the ball sailed over the crossbar.

A phenomenal moment to seal a thrilling final and cap a top-class campaign for the Bulls.

Scorers:

Vodacom Blue Bulls - Tries: Gerrit-Jan van Velze, Deon Hellberg, Ernst Dinkelman. Conversions: Francois Brummer (2). Penalties: Brummer (2). Drop goals: Brummer (2).

Vodacom Free State Cheetahs - Tries: Barry Goodes, Riaan Vermuelen. Conversions: Louis Strydom (2). Penalties: Strydom (5).

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