The Vodacom Blue Bulls earned a bonus point as they beat the Toyota Free State Cheetahs 34-12 (halftime 7-7) in a hard fought Currie Cup match at the Toyota Stadium in Bloemfontein on Friday evening.
It was the home team who made their intentions known early in the match as wing Rabs Maxwane drew in the defence before offloading to hooker Joseph Dweba who crossed the whitewash. Former Blue Bulls pivot, Tian Schoeman, slotted the conversion for the Free Staters.
The men in blue eventually got themselves into the match as they applied pressure on their opponents and the dam wall was breached in the 13th minute as wing Jamba Ulengo passed to flyhalf Manie Libbok who dived under the posts to score a brilliant try that he converted.
Free State had to pull in their defence three minutes later as prop Ox Nche was yellow carded for a dangerous tackle and credit needs to be given to the men from Bloemfontein as they shut out the Blue Bulls to prevent any points from being leaked.
The match dissolved into a dull affair as neither team could break the deadlock but it was Free State who would be left scratching their heads at halftime as they enjoyed the majority of possession and territory but just could not convert that pressure into points.
The second half proved to be much better for both teams as they regularly bothered the scoreboard. Free State started the second half in the same fashion they did in the first half as scrumhalf Shaun Venter broke away from the back of a ruck and out sprinted the defence to score an unconverted try in the 41st minute.
The visitors continued to be nuisance on attack but were thwarted by Free State before opting to kick a penalty goal courtesy of Libbok.
The successful kick galvanised the Blue Bulls who were awarded a penalty try in the 55th minute due to Free State deliberately collapsing the maul.
Lock Justin Basson was shown a yellow card for the infringement and the home team were made to pay six minutes later as wing Jade Stiglingh capitalised on the one man advantage to dot down in the corner.
It was the visitors who brought the curtain down on a hard fought match as fullback Divan Rossouw scored the bonus point try on the stroke of full time. Man of the Match, Libbok, added the extras to hand his charges a 34-12 win away from home.
Toyota Free State Cheetahs – Tries: Joseph Dweba, Shaun Venter; Conversion: Tian Schoeman.
Vodacom Blue Bulls – Tries: Manie Libbok, Penalty try, Jade Stiglingh, Divan Rossouw; Conversions: Libbok (3); Penalties: Libbok (2).