WP hand Bulls fourth defeat in a row
Western Province handed Vodacom Cup champions the Blue Bulls their fourth successive defeat in this year’s tournament when they beat them 16-8 (halftime 13-5) in an error-strewn match at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
It rained for most of the first half and the result was that little constructive rugby was played. However, WP tried their utmost and were ultimately rewarded for their grit with a rare victory in the backyard of their arch-rivals.
Scrumhalf Nic Groom got the visitors off to a terrific start by finishing in just the ninth minute, with fullback Lionel Cronjé converting.
Cronjé was probably WP’s best player on the day. He was impressive on attack and also kicked well at posts -- the only one of his five kicks that missed bounced back off the post.
The Bulls, however, had a swift riposte for Groom’s try, with centre Stephan Dippenaar finishing after a fine grubber by evergreen flyhalf Jaco van der Westhuyzen.
Unfortunately for the home side fullback Marnitz Boshoff was not enduring a happy day with the boot. He missed a relatively easy penalty attempt just before Dippenaar’s try, which he could also not convert.
But WP were full value for their victory. They certainly played the majority of the constructive rugby and the winning margin could have been substantially higher if they had a more ruthless finishing streak.
The Bulls rallied in the final 10 minutes, but were repelled with some committed defence by WP -- the kind that has made the Stormers such a difficult side to beat.
With the victory WP maintained their unbeaten record in this year’s tournament and a victory at Loftus is certainly an important step as the Capetonians look to establish a winning culture.
However, there will certainly be some serious questions in Pretoria, as they have such a proud record in the tournament. They scrummed well in this game, but that was just about it.
Blue Bulls 8 – Try: Stephan Dippenaar. Penalty: Marnitz Boshoff.
WP 16 – Try: Nic Groom. Conversion: Lionel Cronjé. Penalties: Cronjé (3).