Blue Bulls sneak home against Kings
The Vodacom Blue Bulls had to pull out all the stops to sneak home 29-28 (halftime 19-15) against the Eastern Province Kings in their Vodacom Cup match played at the Loftus Versfeld B field on Saturday.
It was the Bulls’ second win in six matches this season but once again the defending champions did not look their usual self and were pushed all the way by a Kings team still smarting at the fact that they had been docked nine points for fielding ineligible players earlier in the season.
In front of a good crowd of 2000, the Bulls had slightly the better of a tight first half that saw fullback Clayton Blommetjies open the scoring in the third minute with a try.
Flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff made it 8-0 in the 11th minute but former Bok sevens player Norman Nelson responded for the Kings with a good try after 16 minutes, converted by flyhalf Jaco van Schalkwyk.
The Kings then unexpectedly took the lead five minutes later when lock Ross Kennedy crashed over, but a penalty from Boshoff and a try by Sampie Mastriet gave the hosts a seven-point lead going into the break.
Van Schalkwyk pulled three points back deep in first-half injury time, then kicked another two penalties before the hour was up to give his side a 21-19 lead going into the final quarter.
Boshoff slotted a 61st-minute penalty that swung the momentum back in his team’s favour, before flanker Marnus Schoeman made it 29-21 when he dotted down with 11 minutes left.
The Kings threw everything at the Bulls in the final minutes and were rewarded with a try to reserve front-rower Frank Herne, but Van Schalkwyk’s conversion left the men from Port Elizabeth just one point short of what would have been a great comeback.
Blue Bulls 29– Tries: Clayton Blommetjies, Sampie Mastriet, Marnus Schoeman. Conversion: Marnitz Boshoff. Penalties: Boshoff (4)
EP Kings 28 – Tries: Norman Nelson, Ross Kennedy, Frankie Herne. Conversions: Jaco van Schalkwyk (2). Penalties: Van Schalkwyk (3).