Blue Bulls win Northern Amateur Provincial Competition
The Blue Bulls on Friday were crowned the Northern Amateur Provincial champions after defeating hosts the Pumas Lowveld 35-10 in the final at Nelspruit Rugby Club.
The Lions finished the competition in third place with a 57-26 victory against the Leopards, while the Blue Bulls Invitational XV pipped the Limpopo Blue Bulls 11-10 to win the Plate Final.
The Valke, meanwhile, defeated the Pumas Highveld 36-20 to finish seventh.
The Final was tight as the Blue Bulls and Pumas Lowveld entered the break level with three points each. But the floodgates opened for the Pretoria side in the second half as they found their rhythm on attack and scored four tries to only one by the hosts to secure an emphatic 35-10 victory. Steven Moir again proved to be a star for the Blue Bulls as he scored a try, three conversions and three penalties for a personal tally of 20 points. This set them in good stead for their 35-10 victory.
In the Plate Final the Blue Bulls Invitational XV and Limpopo Blue Bulls were involved in a tense showdown as both teams put their bodies on the line. With both sides boasting solid defence, few try-scoring opportunities presented themselves. The Blue Bulls Invitational XV took an 11-3 at the break. But the Limpopo Blue Bulls forced their way back into the match in the second half with a converted try to come within one point of the Blue Bulls Invitational XV at 11-10 down. However, they were unable to add to their score to nudge them to a victory and had to settle for the disappointing defeat.
The Lions, meanwhile, forced their way onto the front-foot early on against the Leopards thanks to their effective attack and solid defence, which allowed them to secure an encouraging 26-5 lead at the break. They continued their dominant showing in the second half and capitalised on their try-scoring chances, which allowed them to finish the match with an impressive eight tries and a 57-26 victory. Sheldon Williams and Tshepo Mooki each crossed the tryline twice for the Lions, while Shaun Davids slotted over six conversions.
The first half between the Valke and Pumas Highveld was tight as both teams threw everything at one another in the hope of finishing the tournament on a high note. So close was the half the teams were only two points apart on the scoreboard at the break, with the Valke 17-15 ahead. The Valke, however, tightened up their defence in the second half and continued to stamp their authority on attack, which allowed them to out-score Pumas Highveld six tries to three for their 36-20 victory.
Northern Amateur Provincial Competition final results:
Valke 36 - 20 Pumas Highveld (7th/8th place playoff)
Leopards 26 - 57 Lions (3rd/4th place playoff)
Limpopo Blue Bulls 10 - 11 Blue Bulls Invitational XV (Plate Final)
Pumas Lowveld 10 - 35 Blue Bulls (Final)