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The Currie Cup defending champions, the Airlink Pumas registered a 15-63 victory against the Vodacom Bulls in round 1 of the 2023 Currie Cup competition, played at Loftus Versfeld. The visiting side pencilled in 9 tries (6 conversions) and 2 penalties to the 2 tries (1 conversion) and penalty of the Vodacom Bulls.

The bout was electric from the first whistle, as Tinus de Beer and Morne Steyn lined up spot kicks inside the opening 10 minutes. It was the visitors who went over the line first, scoring their opening try of the encounter in the 13th minute through Eduan Swart.

Mihlali Mosi levelled scores (with Steyn’s kick going wide) with a brilliant premeditated interception of the visitors’ lineout, going over the line to loud cheers from the stands. Soon after, the visitors found a break on the far eastern stand and went over for another five points to open the gap and look to put the hosts under pressure.

The visitors would go on to add more pressure on the hosts, scoring their third try (converted) to stretch their lead to 12 points with 5 minutes left to play in the opening half.

Shortly before the break, the visitors went over for another converted try, stretching their lead to 19.

The two sides went into the break 8-27 in favour of the visitors.

The Airlink Pumas went about their business in the second half the same fashion they did the first, scoring 5 more tries to register a resounding 48-point victory over the Vodacom Bulls.

Vodacom Bulls Currie Cup head coach, Edgar Marutlulle, reflected at the end of the match by saying: “The Pumas are always a good team in the Currie Cup, this result is good because we got our nose punched this afternoon and we must take it from there. Hopefully, things can only get better from here, but well done to the Pumas, they showed that they wanted it more,”

“They were the more dominant than us in more areas, their ability to take defense into attack was really outstanding and they were also much better than us in the breakdown and that is where the game was really contested,”

“The journey does not get any easier going forward and that is the strength and relevance of this Currie Cup competition. We are looking forward to the challenge and hopefully, we can improve as the coaching staff and from a player’s perspective. We hope to bring something better next week.”


Tries: Cornal Hendricks x1, Mihlali Mosi x1

Conversion: Morne Steyn x1

Penalty: Morne Steyn x1

1. Gerhard Steenekamp, 2. Jan Hendrik Wessels, 3. Francois Kloppers, 4. Jacques Du Plessis, 5. Ruan Vermaak, 6. Phumzile Magondwana, 7. Reinhardt Ludwig, 8. Mihlali Mosi, 9. Bernard van der Linde, 10. Morne Steyn (c), 11. Sbu Nkosi, 12. David Kriel, 13. Lionel Mapoe, 14. Sibongile Novuka, 15. Wandisile Simelane

16. Lizo Gqoboka, 17. Joe van Zyl, 18. Mornay Smith, 19. Janko Swanepoel, 20. Cameron Hanekom, 21. Keagan Johannes, 22. Chris Smith, 23. Cornal Hendricks

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, Simon Dyidi – Logistics Manager

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