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The Bulls secured a 36-30 win against Western Province (WP) in the Currie Cup semi-final on 15 October at Loftus Versfeld. The Bulls welcomed back Springbok scrumhalf Rudy Paige from international duty and captain Arno Botha from injury. Western Province welcomed the return of Sprinboks Bongi Mbonambi (hooker) and centre Juan de Jongh.
The Bulls started the game off with a great pass from Paige which found a clever run from wing Travis Ishmael who scored the Bulls first try in the 9th minute. Flyhalf Tian Schoeman converted to give the Bulls a 7-0 lead.
Western Province hit back soon afterward as a strong 20-meter maul resulted in 8th man Nizaam Carr crossing the tryline. Western Province flyhalf Robert du Preez then converted to level the score. Schoeman kicked 3 penalties to give the Bulls a 16-7 lead. Du Preez reduced the score difference to 16-10 when he kicked a penalty for Province just before halftime.
Immediately after halftime, WP won a penalty after good defensive pressure. Du Preez converted to make the score 16-13. A good incisive run from Schoeman brought the Bulls into WP’s 22 where they won a penalty that Schoeman converted to make it 19-13. WP struck back when an intercept from Schoeman’s attempted pass found its way to wing Werner Kok, who sprinted away to score WP’s second try. Du Preez converted to make it 20-19 in the 50th minute. The Bulls then won a penalty on the halfway line that Schoeman converted to give the Bulls a 22-20 lead.
In the 59th minute a number of drives from the forwards and backs eventually resulted in WP’s lock Jan de Klerk scoring. Du Preez converted to give Western Province a 27-22 lead. The Bulls fought back as lock Jason Jenkins stretched over the line to score. Schoeman converted the try to restore the Bulls’ lead to 29-27 in the 63rd minute. WP then pressured the Bulls’ tryline and won a penalty from a scrum that Du Preez converted to give Province a 30-29 lead with nine minutes on the clock.
The Bulls then regained the lead after a number of strong carries from both forwards and backs allowed replacement scrumhalf Ivan van Zyl to sneak over the tryline and score in the77th minute. Schoeman converted to put the Bulls 36-30 ahead and give them the win.
A tough final assignment awaits the Bulls as they will travel to Bloemfontein to face the table-topping Cheetahs, who won their semi-final against the Lions 55-17.