The Bulls secured a nail-biting 16-12 victory over the Pumas in Nelspruit on Friday which moved them away from the embarrassing log position they occupied ahead of their fifth round Absa Currie Cup rugby match.
A single point separated the two teams for the greater part of the second half as Pumas flyhalf Ricardo Croy delivered an outstanding kicking performance to get his team back into the match after they failed to score any points in the first half.
The man of the moment turned out to be rookie Bulls flyhalf Louis Fouche who nailed a dropgoal at the death that ensured that his team banked their second win of the season.
The tone of the first half was set by the visiting side as they conceded two breakdown penalties in the first five minutes while their hosts kept losing possession in the contact situation.
Early momentum belonged to the Pumas but they failed to convert the chances they were given with inaccuracy at the set phases often allowing the Bulls back into the match.
Their best chance to open their account came as a result of a fumble by wing Akona Ndungane, who got a hand to a poorly directed Pumas touch finder that ended up going over the dead ball line.
The men in pink were awarded a 5m scrum, but conceded a free-kick for early engagement.
Scrum-time became a real mess for both sides as nearly all scrums in the first-half had to be reset by the Australian match official.
Eventually the men from Pretoria started to dominate with their forwards and sustained pressure led to Bjorn Basson scoring the first points of the match when he ran onto a flat pass by new scrumhalf Jano Vermaak.
Prop Dean Greyling was one of the stand-out performers for the Blue Bulls.
The seven-point lead they gained from Basson’s try in the 15th minute was extended to 10 in the 24th minute when flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff converted his first penalty of the evening.
With the Pumas scoreless after the first half, a drama filled second half was always going to be on the cards.
Pumas flyhalf Ricardo Croy finally opened his team’s account in the 44th minute with a penalty conversion.
The Blue Bulls then looked like scoring their second try of the match, but the pass from Zane Kirchner to Jano Vermaak was adjudged to be forward and instead Croy put his side within four points of the Bulls when he slotted his second penalty kick of the night.
The nightmare the Bulls were having at the breakdowns continued to give the much improved Pumas the advantage as they started to set up camp in the opposition’s half.
Croy converted his third kick that made it 10-9 in favour of the visitors with 25 minutes left in the match.
Boshoff responded by converting his second of the night, but Croy returned the favour just minutes later to set up the dramatic finish.
Scorers: Pumas 12 (0): Ricardo Croy (4) Bulls 16 (10): Try — Bjorn Basson. Conversion: Marnitz Boshoff. Penalties: Boshoff (2). Dropgoal: Louis Fouche. — Sapa