Ken Borland
Sports Journalist
2 minute read
3 Sep 2021
9:05 pm

Bulls book Currie Cup final spot after powering past WP

Ken Borland

Western Province were simply battered into submission by the Bulls pack, who dominated the set-pieces and bossed the collisions with utter ruthlessness.

Cornal Hendricks of the Bulls scores a try during the Currie Cup semi-final against Western Province on Friday. Picture: Anton Geyser/Gallo Images

Western Province came to Loftus Versfeld full of running and adventurous rugby, but it was the Bulls who scored the bulk of the tries – six of them – as they cruised to a 48-31 victory in their Currie Cup semi-final in Pretoria on Friday night.

Western Province were simply battered into submission by the Bulls pack, who dominated the set-pieces and bossed the collisions with utter ruthlessness. But it was far from 10-man rugby by the home side as flyhalf Johan Goosen not only kicked superbly out of hand and from the tee, but sparked the backline with his tremendously skilful passing and adept vision.

Goosen’s ability to spot space out wide and his skill in throwing long, flat passes across the face of the defence led to two tries in the first 10 minutes, putting the Bulls 17-0 ahead.

Western Province recovered from their hesitant start through the first of two tries to wing Edwill van der Merwe, but the Bulls’ mixture of power, great support play and running lines, and their eye for space saw them score three further tries before the break for a commanding 38-12 lead at halftime.

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If Western Province were ever going to get back in the game, they needed to score a couple of tries early in the second half. They started well, with Van der Merwe going over for his second try after fullback Sergeal Petersen had broken through close to a ruck.

But Van der Merwe was denied his hat-trick try when the TMO ruled he did not have control of the ball when he finished superbly in the corner, despite the tackles of powerhouses Harold Vorster and Arno Botha. The winger was certainly not in touch and to rule he did not have control of the ball was a hopelessly harsh conclusion based on the replays.

Had the try stood, the gap could have closed to 26-38, but instead the dominant Bulls scrum won a penalty under their poles and the home side were back on attack.

With 12 minutes remaining, the exuberant Cornal Hendricks literally dived over the defence to score and seal the  triumph and an amazing performance by the Bulls.

Van der Merwe did eventually get his hat-trick try in the final minute, kicking through a dropped pass and then skinning Hendricks. Western Province’s one shining light is now off to the Lions though. Has rugby in the Western Cape ever been in such a dreadful state?

Scorers

BullsTries: Cornal Hendricks (2), Johan Goosen, Arno Botha, Lionel Mapoe, Marcell Coetzee. Conversions: Goosen (6). Penalties: Goosen (2).

Western ProvinceTries: Edwill van der Merwe (3), Hacjivah Dayimani, Andre-Hugo Venter. Conversions: Tim Swiel (3).