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The Bulls showed why they’re the best post-coronavirus shutdown team in South Africa by beating Siya Kolisi-led Western Province with 14 men in a first-round Currie Cup thriller 22:20 on Saturday.
After winning the South African Super Rugby Unlocked competition last weekend, which signaled the return of competitive rugby to the Republic, the Bulls faced their toughest challenge yet in Cape Town.
They put supporter Jacques van Rooyen on the red card after 47 minutes for a late tackle and fell back 15-8 shortly afterwards when a friendly rebound after a long kick gave province winger Angelo Davids a try made clear.
It seemed like the Bulls’ winning streak was about to end in four games under coach Jake White as the province had ample possession and a numerical advantage.
The never-saying character of the visitors then came to the fore and they evened out when winger Kurt-Lee Arendse scored his second try of the game and the fly-half converted Chris Smith.
But the Bulls had barely stopped celebrating when flanker Ernst van Rhyn scored a try and the province was 20-15 ahead with 10 minutes to go.
When the cops received a penalty five minutes from time, Smith kicked the touch rather than the posts and the gamble paid off.
A 14-phase attack on the provincial tryline followed the lineout and ended with a superb Smith cross kick caught by substitute scrum half Marco Jansen van Vuren who crossed the tryline.
Smith faced a challenging conversion attempt, but the ball just hit the far post and Bulls had a two-point lead, which they successfully defended until the final whistle.
The dramatic win meant the Bulls started the Currie Cup where they finished Super Rugby Unlocked – at the top of the seven-team standings.
Super rugby points have been carried over to the Currie Cup so the Bulls have 27, Sharks 24, Stormers 20 and the defending champions Cheetahs 17, Lions 16, Pumas Seven and Griquas Four.
Meanwhile, the Lions led the Griquas 20-17 after 47 minutes in Kimberley when Blitz had to give up and the Johannesburg visitors were declared winners.
Cops, Currie Cup, Western Province, Newlands Rugby Stadium, South Africa National Rugby Union Team, Super Rugby, Stormers
World News – AU – Cops Show Why They Are Doing Best With Province 14 men – RFI
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