Photo Credit: Frans Lombard (Actionpix) / BJ Botha
The expectation when it comes to these big battles is always massive, both from players and supporters view, there is no need for any external motivation when the Lions play in Pretoria.
BJ’s Carling Currie Cup Review of Round 7
It didn’t turn out the humdinger that I assumed it would be in my predictions however it was still a battle of attrition and close right up until the end.
The Bulls started off slow with the Lions taking control of most aspects early on and being dually rewarded with penalties which they made no mistake in converting.
The Lions scrum took control early on and this led to a lot of their momentum and getting their dangerous backs into the game. The Bulls defence stood strong though and although the Lions were keeping the ball for a number of phases this didn’t seem to trouble the Bulls much on defence which was a trend throughout the game.
Momentum turned late in the 1st half for the Bulls after a dominant scrum which they converted and next off a driving maul. This seemed to give the Bulls a lift and would go into halftime with the lead for the first time but only three points ahead and still all the pressure on the Bulls.
The Bulls would start the 2nd half as they finished the 1st half with continuous pressure in the Lions 22 which turned into a try when they scored off a 5m scrum and give them that much-needed breathing space on the scoreboard. This did not deter the Lions and they put in a great shift on defence to get them into a position to get some more points on the board and they did so with some long-range penalties for the consistent Tiaan Swanepoel.
With only seven points separating the teams and the clock winding down it was the Lions that had the last opportunity to level the scores. After a number of attempts to get a driving maul over the line, the Bulls defence somehow kept them out and breathed a sigh of relief cementing their home semi-final and top of the table with a game in hand.
Vodacom Bulls 22 (12) – Try: Embrose Papier. Conversion: Chris Smith. Penalty Goals: Smith (4), Morné Steyn.
Xerox Lions 15 (9) – Penalty Goals: Tiaan Swanepoel (5).