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Cats 34 Blues 33

Cats beat Blues with running rugby

Blues almost snatch it at the end with two quick tries...

Once again, this game was played in perfect conditions, and with both teams out of contention, the hope was that they would be able to play attractive, care-free rugby, and thankfully both teams obliged.

The Cats got the early chance to take the lead when Anthony Boric was caught offside on his own ten meter line, and Pretorius made no mistake with the penalty to put the Cats in a 3-0 lead.

5 Minutes in to the game the Cats extended their lead through a Jaque Fourie try, it came from a line-out 5 meters out from the Blues try-line, where the ball was driven up by Kleinjan Tromp, and when the quick 2nd phase ball came, Jano Vermaak quickly passed to Pretorius, who found Julies, and he threw a short pass to Fourie at speed, who dotted down untouched. Pretorius added the 2 points for a 10-0 Cats lead.

It could have been another one for the Cats, Earl Rose fielded a ball just inside his own half, and managed to get past the defender, he kicked ahead with Wylie Human and Luke McAlister chasing, but unfortunately Wylie dived a split second too soon and knocked the ball on in the goal area.

13 minutes into the game the Blues were caught offside again, this time halfway between their ten meter and 22 meter lines and once again, Pretorius added the 3 points, the Cats lead now 13-0. 

The game was played at a frantic pace at this stage, with both teams opting to play running rugby.

18 minutes into the game Luke McAlister got his first chance for points when the Cats went offside on their own 10 meter line, but he missed the straight kick to the right for the score to remain 13-0 for the Cats.

27 minutes into the game Jano Vermaak scored a brilliant try, it came from an attacking scrum inside the Blues 22 meter area, Vermaak dummied and just ran straight into a huge gap towards the Blues try-line, he was caught just short of the line but still managed to reach out and dot the ball down behind the line. Pretorius kicked the easy conversion for the Cats to go into a 20-0 lead.

The Blues then threatened to score in the next period, with Rokococo coming close to scoring twice, but eventually it was Nacewa that did score, this came from a Blues line-out on the Cats 10 meter line, the ball went to McAlister, who broke the Cats defence, and when he was hauled in, flipped the pass to Nacewa, who scored under the poles. McAlister added the conversion, the score 20-7 for the Cats.

After the hooter from broken play the Blues added another try through Tuitavake, this from quick phase ball deep inside the Cats 22, the Blues had a huge overlap to the left, Tuitavake received the ball more or less on the Cats 10 meter line, got past Sephaka, and then stepped inside into a huge vacant space and ran in the try. Again McAlister converted, the Cats lead now only 20-14, also the halftime score.

3 minutes into the second half the Blues went offside at a ruck halfway between their 10 and 22 meter lines, but Pretorius's kick was left, the score still 20-14 for the Cats.

2 minutes later the Cats did score, this from a ruck inside the Blues 22 next to the touchline, Vermaak went blind and kicked ahead, and Jaque Fourie managed to win the race to the ball and dive on it for the try. Pretorius converted and the Cats lead was 27-14.

17 minutes into the 2nd half Fourie got his 3rd try in the match, this came from a ball overthrown at a line-out on the Cats 10 meter line, Vermaak picked it up and sent it down the Cats backline, when it got to Fourie he dummied a pass and cut through the Blues defence to score in the left corner. Pretorius kicked the difficult conversion for a 34-14 lead for the Cats. 

The Blues hit right back with a try by Brent Ward, this from a backline move down the right that found Afoa in space, he was brought down just before the Cats try line but managed to find Ward on the inside that ran over for the easy try. Nacewa missed the conversion, the Cats still in a 34-19 lead.

30 minutes into the second half Afoa came close to scoring, it was from a Blues line-out just inside the Cats half, the Blues used the trick where the ball is thrown to the first player in the line and the ball goes back to the thrower, in this case Afoa, he sprinted for the right corner but was caught on the corner by Wylie Human in a try-saving tackle.

36 minutes into the 2nd half replacement Haiu scored the 4th try for the Blues, this from a penalty taken quickly, a ruck ensued, and Haiu picked up and drove over for the try. Nacewa converted.

Straight from the kickoff the Blues ran in another, this from a great run by Ward down the right, and when he got tackled he passed to Howlett in support who went over unopposed. Nacewa again converted, the Cats lead now only 34-33.

That set up a thrilling last minute or so in the game, and luckily the Cats managed to hang on for the win.    

The scorers:

For the Cats:
Jaque Fourie (3), Jano Vermaak  
 Pretorius 4
Pretorius 2  

For the Blues:
Nacewa, Tuitavake, Ward, Haiu, Howlett   
Cons: McAlister 2, Nacewa 2

Yellow card: none
Red card: none 

Cats: 15 Earl Rose, 14 Conrad Jantjes, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Wayne Julies, 11 Wylie Human, 10 Andre Pretorius (Captain), 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Trevor Hall, 6 Cobus Grobbelaar, 5 Willem Stoltz, 4 Kleinjan Tromp, 3 Bertus Smit, 2 Delarey du Preez, 1 Lawrence Sephaka.
Replacements: 16 Willie Wepener, 17 Daniel Muller, 18 Alten Hulme, 19 Gerhard Vosloo, 20 Enrico Januarie, 21 Doppies la Grange, 22 Grant Esterhuizen.

Blues: 15 Brent Ward, 14 Doug Howlett, 13 Ben Atiga, 12 Isa Nacewa, 11 Joe Rokococo, 10 Luke McAlister, 9 Junior Poluleuligaga, 8 Nick Williams, 7 Onosai'I Tololima-Auava'a, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Anthony Boric, 4 Greg Rawlinson, 3 John Afoa, 2 Keven Mealamu (Captain), 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Tim Dow, 17 Saimone Taumoepeau, 18 Ali Williams, 19 Kurtis Haiu, 20 John Senio, 21 Tasesa Lavea, 22 Anthony Tuitavake.
Referee: Matt Goddard
Touch judges: Scott Young & Johan Meuwesen 
TV Match Official: Shaun Veldsman

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