Bullen players celebrate with substitute striker Arno Botha, who scored the winning goal when the Bulls defeated Haie in extra time in the final of the Currie Cup 2020 at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday. Botha scored both of his team’s attempts. Image: Getty Images
An attempt 72 seconds after the end of extra time by Arno Botha caused a clash of industrial strength and brought the Bulls the most dramatic victory over the Haie in a gripping Currie Cup final at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday .
The cops deserved the trophy for their incredible durability and simple refusal to be hit, however dejected they looked. And the Sharks certainly had a hand on the trophy when they led 19-9 with 15 minutes to go.
But the Bulls fought their way back. It started with a scrum where they had dominated for most of the afternoon but without receiving much reward when referee Jaco Peyper decided not to make the final a penalty shootout. This time he blew up the sharks when the loose head Ox Nche fell to his knee.
The cops set up the lineout and although the ride was stopped, they kept possession of the ball, kept hitting and making money another penalty near the pole. Captain Duane Vermeulen went with a tap-and-go through the pack to the old school, from where Botha set out to try.
The conversion of Morne Steyn and then a punishment from his successor Chris Smith after great runs by Stravino Jacobs wing and Cornal Hendricks center, the results evened out. Smith had a chance to win the final full-time after the hooter, but his angled penalty swung wide.
But it was Botha’s second attempt that will stay in the annals of Bulls rugby after both Smith and Curwin Bosch missed long-distance penalties in the first half of extra time. A relentless pack of Bulls drove on, and the veteran found enough space to get to the line and grab over the cup attempt.
But for much of the game, the Currie Cup seemed to find new space in Kings Park, as the Sharks won the kick game and the Bulls destroyed in the mishap. The first half was interrupted after 24 minutes, with the Bulls leading 6-3 through a 40-minute delay for the Blitz.
Bosch and Steyn exchanged penalties on their return before the Sharks opened the game shortly before half-time when Wing Sbu Nkosi passed in the corner. Trailing 13-9 during the break was mainly due to poor discipline and the Bulls’ own mistakes.
The attempt came after a Sharks player was thrown into the air, despite Bosch missing the angled penalty , Steyn sent the restart directly in contact. After the scrum on the 22nd, the Sharks spread the ball and defender Aphelele Fassi came up from the depths to create the extra man and Nkosi ended up jumping through the cover tackle.
The Bulls didn’t come at first better out of the locker room and received two more fines for Bosch.
But what is clear is that there is great determination and a successful drive at Loftus Versfeld. They may not even have played the better rugby, but that’s why the Currie Cup has returned to Pretoria after an 11 year absence.
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