Blue Bulls, Pumas in last four

The Blue Bulls defeated the Free State XV 44-21 and the Pumas upset Griquas 28-14 in the first two Vodacom Cup quarter-finals on Friday.

Outside centre William Small-Smith bagged a hat-trick as the Bulls outscored Free State five tries to two in an unexpectedly one-sided contest in Pretoria. 

Two converted efforts by flank Wiaan Liebenberg and Small-Smith, together with a penalty from Tian Schoeman accounted for the Blue Bulls' 17-point haul in the first stanza. But three penalty goals from flyhalf Willie du Plessis kept Free State in the hunt as they trailed 17-9 at the break. 

The Bulls continued their forward dominance and they were rewarded early in the second half when Schoeman landed another penalty kick, before Small-Smith breached Free State's brittle defence for his second and third tries. 

Scores from Gerhard Olivier and captain Joubert Engelbrecht gave the visitors some respectability on the scoreboard, but they couldn't finish the match without conceding again, as Schoeman crossed the line for the Bulls' final try. 

In Kimberley, Pumas flyhalf JC Roos's 11-point tally guided his team to a surprise away victory over Griquas in the second quarter-final. The Pumas raced out to a 14-0 lead courtesy of three Roos penalties and a try by Bernardo Botha.

The shell-shocked Griquas responded with two converted tries through replacements Wiseman Kamanga and AJ le Roux in the final 20 minutes. But their efforts were cancelled out by Jason-Colin Fraser and Johan Herbst as the Pumas knocked out the South Section runners-up.

Bulls (44) – Tries: Wiaan Liebenberg, William Small-Smith (3), Tian Schoeman. Conversions: Schoeman (4), Kobus Marais. Penalties: Schoeman (3).
Free State XV (21) – Tries: Gerhard Olivier, Joubert Engelbrecht. Conversion: Niel Marais. Penalties: Willie du Plessis (3).

Griquas (14) – Tries: Wiseman Kamanga, AJ le Roux. Conversions: Dean Grant (2).
Pumas (28) – Tries: Bernardo Botha, Jason-Colin Fraser, Johan Herbst. Conversions: JC Roos, Justin van Staden. Penalties: Roos (3).

Photo: Lee Warren/Gallo Images

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Mariette Adams