Vodacom Bulls u/21 Defend Title In Style

Photo Credit: Speedshots.co.za

The final of the SARU u/21 Championship was played at Emirates Airline Park. The Vodacom Bulls' bench proved to be once again the difference between win and lose. The Bulls were successful in defending their u/21 crown with 48-33 against a game Lions side.

The Bulls who dominated the early proceedings were in the lead with 10-0 after a converted try and a penalty within the first ten minutes of the game.

The Lions absorbed the pressure and after building several phases the Lions scored their first try to narrow the gap to 7-10. Minutes later the second try from the Lions gave them the lead the first time of the game with 14-10.

With 20 minutes gone in the first half, the momentum was with the Lions who used the rolling maul to gain several meters at a time. From the mauls, the Lions attacked with their backline that found several gaps in the Bulls defence.

The Lions continued their dominance in the second quarter. A third try by the Lions from a lineout-maul gave the Lions a 19-10 lead with 12 minutes to go. The Bulls narrowed the gap with a try to 17-19 six minutes before the end of the first half.

Although the momentum was still with the Lions at the halftime break, the Bulls showed that they can create magic in a second. 

A brilliant individual effort by Prince Nkabinde, who have beaten several defenders with his speed extended the Lions lead to 26-17 after only eight minutes of the second half. Stravino Jacobs scored his second try minutes later to keep this game balanced on a knife's edge at 26-24 in the favour of the Lions.

With 24 minutes left to go in the game, the momentum has swung in favour of the Bulls when Keagan Johannes' brilliance lead to his try. This gave the Bulls back the lead with 29-26 and 20 minutes to go.

The introduction of the replacements by both sides resulted in the Lions becoming disjointed while the Bulls increased their dominance.

After a try by each team, the Bulls lead with 36-33 and six minutes to go. Scoreboard pressure and brilliant defence by the Bulls lead to a try by David Kellerman to stretch the Bulls lead to 43-33. This was followed by the Bulls seventh try to win 48-33.

The scoreboard definitely was not a true reflection of the game but the bench of the Bulls again proved to be a match-winning combination.

Vodacom Bulls: Triess: Stravino Jacobs (2), Bernard vd Linde, Keagan Johannes, Janco Uys, Dawid Kellerman, Jan Hendrik Wessels. Conversions: Richard Kriel (2), David Coetzer (3). Penalty: David Coetzer.
Xerox Lions: Tries: Sibusiso Sangweni, Cal Smid, Franke Horn, Prince Nkabinde, Darnelle Osuagwe. Conversions: Luke Rossouw (4).

Vodacom Blue Bulls U21: 15. Richard Kriel14. Stravino Jacobs, 13. Diego Appollis, 12. Jay-Cee Nel, 11. Sebastiaan Jobb, 10. David Coetzer, 9. Bernard van der Linde8. Divan Venter, 7. Keenan Opperman, 6. Hendri du Toit, 5. Janko Swanepoel, 4. Jordan van Dyk, 3. Eduan Swart, 2. Janco Uys, 1. Kudzwai Dube (C). Replacements: 16. Keano Hendricks, 17. Jan-Hendrik Wessels, 18. Nolan Pienaar, 19. Uzile Tele, 20. WJ Steenkamp, 21. Keagan Johannes, 22. Ruben Beytell, 23. Dawid Kellerman.

Xerox Lions u/21: 15. Shaun Baxter, 14. Prince Nkabinde, 13. James Mollentze, 12. Luke Rossouw, 11. Ngia Selengbe, 10. Marc Morisson, 9. Runaldo Pedro, 8. Franke Horn (capt), 7. Sibusiso Sangweni, 6. Mark Snyman, 5. Cal Smid, 4. Emmanuel Tshituka, 3. Asenathi Ntlabakanye, 2. Dameon Venter, 1. Nkosikhona Masuku. Replacements: 16. Darnell Osowagu, 17. Banele Mthenjane, 18. Ebot Buma, 19. Junior White, 20. Mandisi Mthiyane, 21. Hlumelo Ndudula, 22. Jordan Hendrikse, 23. Boitumelo Tsatsane, 24. Quan Horn, 25. Lindo Ncusane.