The Vodacom Bulls and the DHL Western Province enthralled rugby fans in a 9-try fest on Friday night at Loftus Versfeld. The second-round 2023 Currie Cup classic North-South derby produced 74 points as the team from the Cape walked away with 5 points to the 1 point for the hosts.
The two teams traded blows early on in the encounter, as they went over the line for two tries a piece in the opening 30 minutes, with the visitors maintaining a slight (3 points) advantage, thanks to a penalty. Sbu Nkosi’s try was a well-worked team effort, using the availability of hands to set the speedster free, and later on, the Vodacom Bulls would send Cornal Hendricks over the line on the opposite side of the field, as they applied pressure over a prolonged period of time.
The visitors would get the opportunity to add another three points with a penalty kick, but it was the hosts who would have the final say in the opening stanza. The Vodacom Bulls would deploy the use of hands once again, sending scrum-half, Zak Burger over the line with Chris Smith converting the try to see the hosts lead the visitors 19-18 into the break.
The visitors began the second half with serious intent to get back in the lead, scoring a try in the early minutes of the half to claim back their lead on the board. The hosts immediately responded, going over the line for a fourth try of the night to earn a bonus point as Johann Grobelaar went over the line for his 13th Currie Cup try. Smith was on the money again to help his team restore their single-point lead.
Minutes later, halftime substitute, Francois Klopper went over for his maiden Currie Cup try with Smith adding 2 more points with the conversion.
Not to be outdone, the visitors found the break to go over for their fourth try of the evening, bringing the game back to a single point with 20 minutes left on the clock. They would add a further six points through penalties to wrap up a 33-41 victory, as the Vodacom Bulls had to settle for a single bonus point.
VODACOM BULLS SCORERS:
Tries: Sbu Nkosi x1, Cornal Hendricks x1, Zak Burger x1, Johann Grobbelaar x1, Francois Klopper x1
Conversion: Chris Smith x4,
Penalty: Morne Steyn x1
VODACOM BULLS vs DHL WESTERN PROVINCE STARTING XV: 1. Gerhard Steenekamp, 2. Johann Grobbelaar, 3. Mornay Smith, 4. Ruan Vermaak, 5. Ruan Nortje (c), 6. Marco van Staden, 7. Cyle Brink, 8. Elrigh Louw, 9. Zak Burger, 10. Chris Smith, 11. Sbu Nkosi, 12. Harold Vorster, 13. Cornal Hendricks, 14. Quewin Nortje, 15. David Kriel
VODACOM BULLS IMPACT SQUAD: 16. Simphiwe Matanzima, 17. Bismarck du Plessis, 18. Francois Klopper, 19. Janko Swanepoel, 20. WJ Steenkamp, 21. Embrose Papier, 22. Morne Steyn, 23. Stedman Gans
MANAGEMENT: Jake White – Director of Rugby, Edgar Marutlulle – Head Coach, Sean Everitt – Defence & Breakdown, Hugo van As – Backline, Gert Smal – Forwards, Andre Volsteedt – Strength & Conditioning, John-William Meyer – Technical Analyst, Dr. Herman Rossouw – Team Doctor, Lance Lemmetjies – Senior Physiotherapist, Kyle Meyer – Physiotherapist, Elias Bennett – Team Manager, Zama Dyidi – Logistics Manager