Pretoria – After a relatively easy first-round in this
year’s Currie Cup, the Blue Bulls had to fight their way back against Griquas
to claim a 36-12 victory in Pretoria on Friday evening.
Bulls coach Nollis Marais believes this was a valuable
test for his young side as they overturned a 12-6 deficit for a comprehensive
victory in the end.
“I thought we played good rugby, we just didn’t get the
reward, we forced too many offloads in the beginning,” Marais said.
“It was a good learning curve on how to play different
situations when you are on the back foot and how to create space from that
situation. Credit to the Griquas, they played very well in the first half.”
After their 43-19 defeat to Western Province last week,
Griquas were full value in the first hour in Pretoria where they were
defensively astute against the Bulls’ lively back three.
Griquas would have enjoyed a bigger cushion had Gouws
Prinsloo succeeded with two penalty attempts and a conversion kick.
The Bulls did not help their own cause either as they
launched promising attacks only to lose the ball in the offload.
“We came from 12-6 down in the first half and the boys
just made the step up, they just showed that it doesn’t matter how old you are,
if you are good enough you have to play,” Marais said.
“We said we wanted to try a different brand of rugby and
they believe in it and you can’t keep them back.”
Bulls captain Lappies Labuschagne, who had another superb
match leading from the front, said the victory would hold the team in good
stead as they face stronger opposition in weeks to come.
“Our team built character through this where we were on
attack for the bigger part of the first half but they defended well,” he said.
“At half-time they had their noses in front and the guys
had to show some character because their tails were up. We remained cool headed
and in the last 20 minutes it came off for us.”
Meanwhile, Griquas coach Hawies Fourie said his side
could take some positives from the match despite losing their second
“We played well, especially in the first half, the
penalties we missed either side of half-time cost us a bit of momentum and it
would have made a difference if Gouws slotted those two penalties,” Fourie
“The Bulls played better in the second half, they made a
few errors in the first half and they might have underestimated us a bit.
“There is no cause for panic, we will build on what went
well tonight, the first half was a lot better compared to last week, it is only
last 20 minutes that we have to improve on.”