Bulls overcome Leopards
March 29, 2014

The Vodacom Blue Bulls pulled off an impressive 32-26 (halftime 6-13) win over the Leopards XV in their North Section Vodacom Cup clash at the Leeudoring Rugby Club in Leeudoringstad on Saturday.

The win was made all the more remarkable given the fact that the Bulls had trailed 23-6 with just 20 minutes to go, but a rousing four-try rearguard in the final quarter saw them ease past their more-fancied opponents when defeat looked likely.

The win sees them climb to fifth in the North Section standings, while the Leopards were left to rue an opportunity missed as they slip to fourth place in an increasingly tight race for the playoffs.

The Bulls were first to get on the scoresheet, as flyhalf Louis Fouche registered his first penalty of the afternoon inside the first five minutes, but George Tossel's try soon after put the home side in front. Gerhard Nortier, who had converted the try, then extended his team's lead with a penalty in the 18th minute.

Fouche responded with a second three-pointer of his own, but Nortier again was on the mark from the kicking tee as the Leopards led 13-6 by the time the players broke for halftime.

But the deficit was to increase dramatically when play resumed though, as substitute SJ Niemand dotted down early in the second half, and by the time Nortier had bagged himself a try in the 51st minute, the Leopards appeared to be out of sight with a handsome 17-point lead.

But Nortier had been unable to convert either of the second-half tries, and it began to prove costly, as Reniel Hugo completed a well-worked five-pointer in the 60th minute. A converted try from winger Sampie Mostert five minutes later made things worse for the Leopards, as the gap had suddenly narrowed to three.

The Bulls smelled blood, and began to turn the screw, and their third try of the day came courtesy of Sidney Tobias in the 71st minute, and it was they who suddenly led by four.

Substitute Justin Botha offered the Leopards some hope with a late drop goal, although hindsight may have suggested that the pursuit of a try would have been a wiser choice. And any hopes of a final twist were quashed, as William Small-Smith crashed over in the corner at the death to complete the bonus point and a fine come-from-behind victory for the Bulls.


LEOPARDS XV - Tries: George Tossel, SJ Niemand, Gerhard Nortier; Conversions: Gerhard Nortier; Penalties: Gerhard Nortier (2), Justin Botha

VODACOM BLUE BULLS - Tries: Reniel Hugo, Sampie Mastriet, Sidney Tobias, William Small-Smith; Conversions: Jesse Kriel (2), Joshua Stander; Penalties: Louis Fouche (2)

Copyright - SA Rugby. All Rights Reserved - Photos by Gallo Images