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Bulls blow 19-point lead in their Loftus farewell to Morne Steyn

By RugbyPass
Morne Steyn leaves the Loftus Versfeld pitch for the final time (Screen grab via SuperSport)

Saturday’s final Loftus Versfeld appearance for Morne Steyn, the soon-to-retire Bulls legend, had a sting in the tail. The round 14 Currie Cup fixture had been billed as The Last Kick, the last time that the soon-to-be 38-year-old would play at his home ground in Pretoria.

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The occasion seemed to be going to plan early on, Steyn kicking two conversions in the opening 15 minutes after he had received a rapturous pre-kick-off reception from the crowd. That helped the Bulls into a 19-point lead, but Jake White’s team went on to inexplicably squander that advantage.

The margin was down to five points by the interval, the Bulls not helped the red card brandished to No8 Elrigh Louw, and despite Steyn landing an early second-half kick to make the score 22-14, the hosts were trailing 22-28 when the legendary Springboks playmaker, who twice clinched Test victories over the British and Irish Lions, was replaced by Chris Smith on 54 minutes.

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bulls Director of Rugby Jake White previews the Round 14 Currie Cup face-off with the Cheetahs

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bulls Director of Rugby Jake White previews the Round 14 Currie Cup face-off with the Cheetahs

Bismarck du Plessis, the other legendary Springboks player making his final Loftus Versfeld appearance before retirement, was pressed into action on 60 minutes but his presence wasn’t enough to swing victory for the Bulls. Instead, despite applying copious pressure on the Cheetahs defence in the final minutes, the Bulls lost 27-31.

The four tries they scored and the four-point margin of defeat, however, secured them two match points, enough to finish in fourth position on the Currie Cup table and qualify the Bulls for next weekend’s semi-finals away from home, a game that Steyn and du Plessis will hope to play.

That semi-final will be in Bloemfontein after the Sharks failed to beat Western Province in the final fixture of round 14 on Saturday. The Cheetahs’ win earlier in the day had taken them to the top of the table.

Steyn’s farewell to playing at Loftus came at the end of his four-season second spell at the Bulls. He was originally with the franchise for nine years before spending seven seasons at Stade Francais in Paris prior to returning to South Africa in 2020.

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