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Ken Borland

Bulls rescued by late Steyn penalty, and by Edinburgh miss 0

Posted on November 16, 2022 by Ken

The Bulls were rescued by a 78th-minute Morne Steyn penalty, and the fact that Henry Immelman missed one after the final hooter, as they scraped to a 33-31 win over Edinburgh in a dingdong United Rugby Championship thriller at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

The Bulls made the early running and were dominant and clinical in sailing into a 15-0 lead in 22 minutes. But they were then stunned by the quality and slickness of Edinburgh’s attacking play, and ripped apart by right wing Darcy Graham’s hat-trick of tries.

The Bulls were great going forward, but once Edinburgh recovered from an error-strewn start, including a yellow card to captain Grant Gilchrist, the visitors really tested their defence, which was caught being too narrow at times and also missed one-on-one tackles.

Graham rounded the defence for his opening try in the 32nd minute, Edinburgh cutting the deficit to 14-15 at half time.

The Bulls started the second half superbly with Cornal Hendricks scoring after being set up by the forwards – Elrigh Louw made yards over the gainline after the home side won back the kickoff, Marcell Coetzee broke through on a great inside line, and there was slick interplay between locks Walt Steenkamp and Ruan Nortje.

But Edinburgh immediately struck back as Graham followed up a long-range Mark Bennett penalty that struck the poles and bounced into unguarded territory.

A Chris Smith penalty stretched the Bulls’ lead back to 25-19, but they lost the restart and Graham rounded off a superb try that featured brilliant handling by eighthman Viliame Mata and fullback Immelman.

The Bulls, spluttering between excellence and mediocrity, scored another fine try featuring some good hands in a prolonged build-up, replacement prop Simphiwe Matanzima providing some key energy with a strong carry, before wing Stravino Jacobs ran on to a well-aimed pass from Embrose Papier and stretched over to score.

But Edinburgh just kept on coming and they finally overtook the Bulls with 11 minutes remaining. Playing off a lineout, they showed wonderful attacking skills, the slick hands of their backs working left wing Damien Hoyland over for the try, converted by outside centre Mark Bennett for a 31-30 lead.

The Bulls then conceded a scrum penalty, but Immelman missed from 54 metres out, before the home side then won a penalty at the set-piece. Their lineout was especially dominant on Saturday and they earned another penalty from a driving maul, allowing Steyn to shoot at goal. He was on the 10m line, six metres in from touch, and there was seldom any doubt he would nail the tricky kick.

But then Jacobs went in high on Bennett in a thunderous tackle, and was rightly penalised after extensive consultations between the officials.

Immelman from 46 metres out and 12 metres in from touch, was wide, the Bulls escaping a painful loss.

But Edinburgh have certainly left Loftus Versfeld with immense credit, while the Bulls will need to work on getting more defensive steel.


BullsTries: Johan Grobbelaar, Elrigh Louw, Cornal Hendricks, Stravino Jacobs. Conversions: Chris Smith (2). Penalties: Smith (2), Steyn.

EdinburghTries: Charlie Savala, Darcy Graham (3), Damien Hoyland. Conversions: Mark Bennett (3).

Bok team might not have been prim & proper, but Wales could only snatch victory at the death 0

Posted on August 22, 2022 by Ken

The Welsh may not have felt the Springboks’ selection for the second Test in Bloemfontein was prim and proper for the occasion, but in the end they needed a 78th-minute try and a brilliant touchline conversion by Gareth Anscombe to win 13-12 and celebrate their first victory in South Africa.

Here are four Talking Points from the game:

Did Jacques Nienaber’s selection gamble pay off?

No. And it’s not as if several players took the chance to make a big statement either. Of the 19 new players chosen, eighthman Evan Roos was probably the standout with a busy first half featuring several strong carries, while wing Kurt-Lee Arendse looked threatening on attack.

Nienaber will at least have more clarity in terms of selection now, and will know that the vast majority of the team that played in the first Test in Pretoria will be his first-choice players going forward.

The decider in Cape Town next weekend will surely see the Springboks field their proper team.

Many a slip between the cup and the lip

There were periods when the Springboks cooked up all the ingredients to turn their territorial dominance into points, but several times it was like the fork nearing the mouth but the food falling off.

South Africa just could not convert some bright attacking moments into a single try, all 12 of their points coming from four Handre Pollard penalties, but the captain also missed two penalties which proved crucial in the long run.

Credit must be given to the steely Welsh defence, but the Springboks need to polish up those finishing touches.

Mixed fortunes for new caps

While starting debutants Roos and Arendse did well, the four new caps coming off the bench did not have much impact. Loosehead prop Ntuthuko Mchunu earned a penalty from his first scrum with a mighty shove, but then conceded a penalty for scrumming in that gave Wales the territory to launch their matchwinning try.

Ruan Nortje and Deon Fourie could not turn the shifting momentum in the final quarter and reserve scrumhalf Grant Williams came on when Pollard left the field with a leg injury. The Springboks will be hoping it was just cramp, otherwise there will be fresh problems at flyhalf after Elton Jantjies’ off-colour display in the first Test.

Credit to Wales

The tourists defended with tremendous zeal and dominated the aerial battle, which was enough for them to win a tightly-contested battle. Initially it seemed like Wales were going to struggle in the scrums and lineouts, but Wayne Pivac’s side fought back to level the playing field in those crucial set-pieces. They were also tenacious at the breakdown and flank Tommy Reffell was named man of the match in his second Test.

Gelant scores controversial try to save Stormers from humiliating defeat 0

Posted on October 26, 2020 by Ken

Springbok fullback Warrick Gelant scored a controversial 78th minute try to save the Stormers from a humiliating defeat as they edged out the Pumas 42-37 in their Super Rugby Unlocked match in Nelspruit on Friday night.

Gelant produced a fine finish, stepping inside to evade a tackler and then racing away to beat the cover-defence and score the try, but the pass he received from flyhalf Tim Swiel was ‘flat’ enough to raise suspicions in even the most ardent Western Province fan. Referee Marius van der Westhuizen referred the decision to TMO AJ Jacobs and there was certainly enough evidence to rule out the try.

The Stormers were able to come back from a horror first half and they trailed 14-37 after 52 minutes, but they scored three tries in the last 10 minutes to steal the spoils.

The Pumas came with a simple and highly-effective game-plan by coach Jimmy Stonehouse but they were able to execute it perfectly in the first half as they raced into a 30-14 lead.

It was an epic effort by the Pumas, led by inside centre Wayne van der Bank, who took over the generalship duties after an injury to flyhalf Eddie Fouche, and the underdogs produced an outstanding display of clinical rugby to race into a 30-14 lead at the halftime break.

The Pumas were able to overcome an unfortunate blow five minutes into the second half when flank Jeandre Rudolph, an enormous figure in an asphyxiating display by the Pumas pack, was harshly yellow-carded by Van der Westhuizen after an innocuous jersey-pulling episode that saw Stormers scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies end up in the advertising boards.

It was Van der Bank who created an opportunity for an overwhelming 37-14 lead as he rounded off an armada of strong carries by breaking the gain-line and then producing a brilliant offload for wing Niel Maritz to score.

But it all served as an enormous wake-up call for the Stormers and tries from close range by replacement prop Neethling Fouche and hooker Bongi Mbonambi, followed by a classic backline try by wing Leolin Zas, brought them right back into the contest before an unfortunate end to the game for the plucky home side.

The Pumas may have lost, but what they clearly showed is that there is certainly an abundance of talent outside the big franchises and Stonehouse remains an extremely effective manipulator of that talent.

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