A successful penalty goal late in the Vodacom Cup quarterfinal between the Toyota Free State XV and Vodacom Blue Bulls earned the latter yet another semifinal spot.
Replacement-flyhalf Tony Jantjies held his nerves to slot the kick next to the uprights to earn the Bulls a 22-21 lead which they held on to in the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein.
The Bulls, the most consistent side in the competition’s history, have now reached the semifinal stage 12 out of 16 times. They’ve only lost two of those semifinal appearances.
Halftime it was all square 13 all.
Although their lineouts weren’t functionally that well, the Bulls did have the upper hand in the scrums which earned them a couple of penalties and tightheads. It was from this facet that they earned the important penalty which Jantjies kicked.
Before that winger Sampie Mastriet looked to have scored the winning try for the visitors, but he lost control of the ball in the effort to dive for the corner.
The Cheetahs, playing in their first home quarterfinal since 2008, had their chances, but often made silly mistakes at crucial stages.
The small crowd surely won’t remember this encounter for very long. It was littered with mistakes and was a rather disappointing affair. Plenty of passes didn’t go to hand and the tactical kicking wasn’t good either. Furthermore poor refereeing didn’t contribute any bit.
The previous two occasions these two sides were in action against each other in the Vodacom Cup was in the 2008 and 2010 final, both narrowly going the way of the Bulls.
For the Free State their fullback Luke Cyster and centre Nico Lee could be satisfied with their day’s work while scrumhalf Lohan Jacobs and David Bulbring (lock and captain) had a good working rate for the Bulls.
TOYOTA FREE STATE XV – Tries: Maputha Dolo, Zingisa April; Conversion: Riaan Smit; Penalties: Smit (3).
VODACOM BLUE BULLS – Try: Lohan Jacobs; Conversion: Tian Schoeman; Penalties: Schoeman (2), Tony Jantjies (3).