Replacement flyhalf Tian Schoeman missed a late conversion as the Blue Bulls went down 16-15 to the Golden Lions in their Vodacom Cup semi-final at Loftus.
Flank Roelof Smit scored a 75th-minute try to bring the home team within a point of the Lions, but Schoeman send the conversion wide and the Lions held on for the win.
The first half was dominated by the Lions and they took a 10 point-lead thanks to a penalty from flyhalf Willie du Plessis and a converted score by wing Selom Gavor. The Bulls fought valiantly and were rewarded in the final minute of the half when Burger Odendaal stormed over the line and Tony Jantjies converted.
Du Plessis and Jantjies traded goal kicks inside the first 10 minutes after the restart, before Du Plessis stretched the Lions’ lead to six points. It looked as though the visitors were set to defend that lead before Smit burst over the line, giving Schoeman the chance to seal the match.
The Lions, who are defending champions, will face Griquas in the final on 17 May.
Golden Lions – Try: Selom Gavor. Conversion: Willie du Plessis. Penalties: Du Plessis (3).
Blue Bulls – Tries: Burger Odendaal, Roelof Smit. Conversion: Tony Jantjies. Penalty: Jantjies.
Golden Lions – 15 Vainon Willis, 14 JR Esterhuizen, 13 Stokkies Hanekom, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Selom Gavor, 10 Willie du Plessis, 9 Ricky Schroeder (c), 8 Ruaan Lerm, 7 Cyle Brin, 6 Stephan de Witt, 5 Hugo Kloppers, 4 Thabo Mamojele, 3 Charles Marais, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Dylan Smith.
Subs: 16 Mark Pretorius, 17 Nico du Plessis, 18 Lourens Erasmus, 19 Thabo Mabuza, 20 Michael Bondesio, 21 Marais Schmidt, Caswell Khoza.
Blue Bulls – 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Sampie Mastriet, 13 Waylon Murray, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Travis Ismaiel, 10 Tony Jantjies, 9 Lohan Jacobs, 8 Clyde Davids, 7 Christiaan de Bruin, 6 Wiaan Liebenberg, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 David Bulbring (c), 3 Hencus van Wyk, 2 Sidney Tobias, 1 Juan Schoeman.
Subs: 16 Arno van Wyk, 17 Basil Short, 18 Reniel Hugo, 19 Roelof Smit, 20 Kefentse Mahlo, 21 Tian Schoeman, 22 Ryan Nell.
Photo: Duif du Toit/Gallo Images