Two weeks ago, the South African rugby Federation announced that teams participating in the Currie Cup shouldn’t call upon players that are scheduled to compete for the Springboks. Not surprisingly, there were many who criticize the ruling, but there was very little that the managers could do and they were forced to find worthy substitutes. Everyone was anxiously waiting to see how the opening match will unfold, given the fact that the Golden Lions were supposed to take on the Blue Bulls.
The home side came out firing on all cylinders and did his very best to keep the ball for most of the time, a strategy that quickly paid off. The visitors were overwhelmed by their offensive prowess and before they could effectively retaliate, they found themselves in a 23 – 3 hole. Stokkies Hanekom and Ruan Combrink quickly added their names on the scores’ sheet but the man of the match was Marnitz Boshoff who scored most of the goals and was very active on the pitch.
The visitors had no intention to simply roll over and they didn’t give up without the fight, trying to contain the Golden Lions in the second half of the match. Sampie Mastriet spearheaded the offensive and caused plenty of headaches for the hosts, but the threat posed by this gifted player was neutralized. The Lions quickly regained the initiative and after a couple of impressive plays, they managed to score once again, en route to a convincing victory.
The hosts decided to play in their original equipment, which proved to be a lucky choice as they had no problem in overcoming the Blue Bulls. Warren Whiteley, Jaco Kriel and Derick Minnie received plenty of praise after the match was over, for their commitment. It was pretty obvious by half time that the Golden Lions were not going to allow the visitors to take the lead anytime soon and they didn’t shift into a less aggressive gear, even though they had a considerable advantage over their opponents.
For the Blue Bulls only two players stood out from the crowd, with Mastriet scoring a try, while Potgieter being the author of one, and one penalty. Despite all those concerns regarding the decision not to call upon the Springboks in Currie cup games, the competition seems to be every bit as interesting as it was in the previous years. Granted this is only the opening match and a lot can change in the upcoming rounds, it is a good way to start the tournament.