Blue Bulls struggle to take down Valke
Dan Lombard
June 08, 2018

The Vodacom Blue Bulls made it difficult for themselves against a resilient Hino Valke en route to claiming a vital 37-32 victory (halftime 20-10) in their SuperSport Rugby Challenge match at Loftus Versfeld on Friday afternoon.

It was the home team who struck first with hooker Johan Grobbelaar barging his way over the whitewash in the fifth minute as the sun shone brightly in the Capital.

The weather may have come to party but the players struggled to assert themselves in a match that the Blue Bulls should have won handsomely.

The visitors' never-say-die attitude proved to be an irritation for the men in light blue and this tenacious attitude saw the Valke take the lead momentarily as barn-busting lock Gert Alberts used his immense strength to grab a five-pointer. Scrumhalf Andre du Plessis added the extras.

Fleet-footed fullback Earll Douwrie got the Blue Bulls back in front with a try in the 22nd minute and slotted a penalty goal before converting No 8 Jano Venter's try-scoring effort on the halftime hooter to hand his charges a 20-10 lead at the break.

The Valke came to play and proved to be the better team in large parts of the second half with hooker Marco Klopper bursting through the defence to score from a strong lineout drive within minutes of the restart.

Flank Robey Leibrandt got his name on the scoresheet five minutes later as the visitors once again took the lead away from a frustrated Blue Bulls outfit.

Douwrie provided the calmness needed as his penalty attempt sliced the uprights to retake the lead and provided the platform needed for the men from Pretoria to put the match to bed.

It appeared to be a case of the Sunday blues for both teams as they continued to be frustrated with a litany of unforced errors but replacement scrumhalf Lian du Toit provided the spark needed as he dotted down a converted try and secured the bonus point before the visitors landed a penalty goal by Du Plessis.

The final five minutes of the match was dominated by points being scored as replacement prop Nqoba Mxoli smashed his way over for a converted try with the Valke bringing down the curtain on proceedings as replacement flank Siphiwe Sithole scored under the posts for their bonus point try.

Du Plessis's conversion was successful albeit not enough as the Blue Bulls registered a invaluable 37-32 win at Loftus Versfeld.


Vodacom Blue Bulls XV - Tries: Johan Grobbelaar, Earll Douwrie, Jano Venter, Lian du Toit, Nqoba Mxoli; Conversions: Douwrie (3); Penalties: Douwrie (2).

Hino Valke - Tries: Gert Alberts, Marco Klopper, Robey Leibrandt, Siphiwe Sithole; Conversions: Andre du Plessis (3); Penalties: Du Plessis (2).

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