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18 Oct 2009 07:24
Blue Bulls coach Frans Ludeke said his team attained their goal by reaching the 2009 Currie Cup final after their flyhalf Morne Steyn steered them to a narrow 21-19 victory over Western Province at Newlands on Saturday.
“To progress to the final was the goal at the start of the season,” said Ludeke. “The team showed a lot of character to stay in the match in the closing stages.
“It just shows how vital it is to have a goalkicker like [Morne] Steyn in your side.
In a final or semifinal when the score margin is likely to be small, a reliable goalkicker can make the
Ludeke said the team will now enjoy a short break before preparing for the final against the Cheetahs in two weeks’ time.
“The team will enjoy a few days off and then get ready for the final,” said Ludeke.
“It was a very good game for both sides, and it was good for rugby.”
The victorious Bulls captain Victor Matfield praised the role of Steyn in the side. “It is great to have a matchwinner like him,” said Matfield. “He’s one that a captain can turn to when there’s a chance for a kick to win a match.
“I’m so pleased for him because some time ago there was a time when he used to sit on the bench and never always got game time.
“He persevered and worked hard at his game and despite all his achievements [for the Bulls and Springboks] he has remained humble.”
Western Province finished with a late surge and looked set to hold on to their slender lead until Steyn’s boot intervened three minutes ahead of the final whistle.
“We were not surprised by Province’s strong finish. We knew they could come back after we took the lead,” said Matfield. “It’s not been an easy time for us [the Springboks] when we got back to the Currie Cup because it was very tough on us.
“We were emotionally drained after winning the Lions and Tri-Nations series with the Boks. It really took a lot out of us.
“We knew this [WP] is an awesome team and although we were the overwhelming favourites we knew it was going to be a real battle.
“The way Province played tonight was very physical and direct. They don’t always play like that.
“The match showed that there is a lot of depth in SA rugby and the next step for the youngsters is to make the step up to Super 14 level.
“The one area where we had an advantage is tactical kicking. It showed today that it is probably the most important aspect in modern rugby and that’s where we held the upper hand.” - Sapa
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