The Blue Bulls made it back-to-back wins after defeating the EP Kings 28-13 in an ill-tempered encounter in Port Elizabeth on Friday. BRENTON CHELIN reports.
It wasn't quite the polished performance we saw against the Lions last week, but the Bulls will head back to Pretoria with four important log points. For the Kings, the search goes on for their first win in the top-flight, as they continue to look out of their depth at this level.
Five penalties in the first six minutes made for a stop-start beginning to proceedings. It would set the tone for the evening, with referee Quinton Immelman dishing out two yellow cards and a red as both teams often overstepped the mark in a bid to impose themselves physically on the opposition.
Bongi Mbonambi saw yellow for a reckless charge into a ruck after Jacques-Louis Potgieter had given the Bulls an early lead courtesy of a long-range penalty.
Despite their man advantage, the Kings were unable to exert any pressure on their visitors, as their lineout and scrum malfunctioned poorly. Beaten at the breakdown and ponderous in possession, the Bulls drift defence coped comfortably with anything the Kings could muster.
William Small-Smith, a late replacement for JJ Engelbrecht, grabbed the opening try as the Bulls came away with points from their first foray into the Kings red zone.
The Kings' riposte came from the boot of Scott van Breda, as two penalties brought them back into the game before Potgieter added his second penalty to give the Bulls a 11-6 lead at the break.
They extended their lead early in the second half after Van Breda dallied over a chip kick from Bjorn Basson, and the winger pounced to score an opportunistic try.
A further try from Deon Stegmann 15 minutes from time gave the Bulls hope of claiming the bonus point, but their captain saw red shortly afterward for an elbow on Devon Oosthuizen, allowing the Kings a reprieve.
The hosts, spurred on by their faithful supporters, would get a consolation effort from Darron Nell, although it failed to hide a pretty forgettable performance.
EP Kings – Try: Darron Nell. Conversion: Tobie Botes. Penalties: Scott van Breda (2).
Blue Bulls – Tries: William Small-Smith, Bjorn Basson, Deon Stegmann. Conversions: Jacques-Louis Potgieter (2). Penalties: Potgieter (3).
EP Kings – 15 Scott van Breda, 14 Ronnie Cooke, 13 Tim Whitehead, 12 Shane Gates, 11 Siviwe Soyizwapi, 10 Gary van Aswegen, 9 Kevin Luiters, 8 Paul Schoeman, 7 Devon Oosthuizen, 6 Shaun McDonald, 5 Steven Sykes (c), 4 David Bulbring, 3 CJ van der Linde, 2 Edgar Marutlulle, 1 Lizo Gqoboka.
Subs: 16 Mike van Vuuren, 17 Simon Kerrod, 18 BG Uys, 19 Darron Nell, 20 Stefan Willemse, 21 Tobie Botes, 22 Ntabeni Dukisa.
Blue Bulls – 15 Ulrich Beyers, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 William Small-Smith, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Jono Ross, 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Dean Greyling.
Subs: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Basil Short, 18 Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, Jacques Engelbrecht, 20 Rudy Paige, 21 Tian Schoeman 22 Tony Jantjies.
Photo: Michael Sheehan/Gallo Images