Bulls up to third with resounding win
September 10, 2016

The Vodacom Blue Bulls stoked their title aspirations on Saturday night when they smashed the Steval Pumas by 41 points to 14 in their Currie Cup Premier Division clash at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit.

The Bulls are level on points with the Sharks on 20, 4 behind the unbeaten Cheetahs, after running in 6 tries to 1 against the still winless Pumas.

This was typical Bulls rugby. A strong kick and chase game as well as pressure in collision and at the breakdown was too much for their hapless hosts. The Pumas simply could not muster up to a physical Bulls outfit that knows they are gaining momentum at just the right time.

Lizo Gqoboko started for the first time at loosehead tonight and put in a man of the match performance. The Bulls pack monstered the scrum and not only set a solid base, but also resulted in a try when stand in skipper, Hanro Liebenberg crashed over just after half time for the bonus point score.

The Bulls’ coaching staff will know that this was not the perfect performance and would have expected more from their backline who did not quite click tonight. When they did manage to get the ball out wide, especially out left where Jamba Ulengo had a great game, scoring two tries, they looked good. This was few and far between.

It has always been a criticism of the Bulls and they will need to rectify the disjointed manner in which their backline operates if they have serious title ambitions. Credit to them for trying an expansive game plan against weaker opposition, but some running rugby at training this week will do them well.

But this is nit-picking. Their pack was immense, their set piece rock solid and their ability to score points when in the red zone is the envy of many teams in the competition.

With two winnable fixtures against Griquas and Boland coming up followed by a bye before the playoffs, the Bulls could yet creep under the radar and take the cup next month. But if that is going to happen, a few kinks need to be ironed out.


Pumas: Tries: Ruwellyn Isbell. Penalties: Francois Brummer (3)

Bulls: Tries: Ulrich Beyers; Travis Ismaiel; Nic de Jager; Hanro Liebenberg; Jamba Ulengo (2). Conversions: Tian Schoeman (4). Penalties: Tian Schoeman (1).

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