The Blue Bulls’ Currie Cup campaign will go into the last round after Louis Fouche kicked 21 points in a 26-13 victory over Western Province at Loftus.
The Bulls will now hope the Lions and Sharks win away at Griquas and the Cheetahs respectively on Saturday, which would leave them having to win the Gauteng derby next weekend to sneak into the semi-final.
WP will be hoping for the reverse of the aforementioned results to maintain any hope of a home play-off. They were comprehensively beaten at the breakdown this evening, which was the root of the struggles. Their defence continues to be impressive, but their attacking play is sterile and this doesn’t bode well this close to the knock-out phase.
The match was largely uninspiring, with the Bulls dominating possession but doing nothing nearly imaginative enough to consistently threaten the tryline of a organised and physical defensive unit. WP were equally impotent, and, in addition to their lack of clout in the tackle, never exhibited the tactical kicking game to play in the areas they needed to. A woeful lineout effort, where hooker Siyabonga Ntubeni struggled to find his jumpers, further undermined their cause.
The Bulls were the slicker of the two sides, sticking to their forward-based gameplan with great discipline and forcing errors from the visitors. Fouche banked two penalties, before powerful and patient phase play from the Bulls eroded the WP defence and left Akona Ndungane with a mismatch on the touchline. The winger scored, and even though WP flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis sunk a penalty just before the break, the hosts would have felt far more confident going down the tunnel.
And rightly so. Fouche continued to punish WP for ill-discipline, slotting three penalties after the restart to Catrakilis’s one to give his side a commanding 20-6 lead going into the final quarter.
WP upped the ante, but the Bulls responded well, turning up the physicality at the gainline and in so doing denying their opponents the momentum they needed ask telling questions.
They, however, folded with twelve minutes to play, conceding a penalty try after repeatedly sacking a WP rolling maul. Catrakilis converted to give his side hope, but their discipline let them down once more, Fouche taking the game away from them with his accurate kicking to seal a crucial victory.