Kimberley - The Blue Bulls returned to the victory trail when they secured a 45-40 win over Griquas in their Currie Cup clash in Kimberley on Saturday.
In a topsy-turvy match in which momentum between the two sides ebbed and flowed, the Pretoria-based outfit eventually got the rub of the green and outscored their hosts by seven tries to six.
The Bulls dominated the early exchanges and opened the scoring in the sixth minute when Andre Warner barged over from close quarters after the ball went through nine phases in the build-up.
Ten minutes later, Griquas struck back when Nicolaas Oosthuizen crossed for their first try after a lineout steal on the Blue Bulls’ five-metre line.
But despite that setback, Bulls dominated over the next 10 minutes and scored 21 unanswered points during that period thanks to well-taken tries from Franco Naude, Jaco Visagie and JT Jackson. Manie Libbok converted all his side’s tries which meant the Bulls were cruising with the score 28-7 in their favour by the half-hour mark.
But despite being outplayed for large periods during the opening half, Griquas did not surrender and struck back via a five-pointer from Andre Swarts and a penalty try during the latter stages of the half which meant they were still in the match at half-time despite trailing 28-21 on the scoreboard.
The home side continued to dominate early in the second half and drew level in the 46th minute when Eital Bredenkamp crossed for their fourth try after Ederies Arendse did well in the build-up.
Two minutes later, the visitors were reduced to 14 men when Jaco Visagie was yellow carded for an early tackle and shortly afterwards Andre Swarts crossed for his second try which meant Griquas were now leading for the first time in the game.
The Bulls did not panic though and struck back via an Edgar Marutlulle try after a lineout drive deep inside Griquas’ half. That came after a penalty for the Blue Bulls and a yellow card to Pieter Jansen van Vuren.
The Bulls finished stronger and further tries from Jano Venter and Ivan van Zyl gave them a 45-35 lead before AJ Coertzen crossed for Griquas’ sixth try which secured them their second bonus point.
Griquas – Tries: Andre Swarts (2), Nicolaas Oosthuizen, Eital Bredenkamp, AJ Coertzen, Penalty Try, Conversions: George Whitehead (4)
Blue Bulls – Tries: Franco Naude (2), Andre Warner, Jaco Visagie, Edgar Marutlulle, Jano Venter, Ivan van Zyl, Conversions: Mani Libbok (5)
15 AJ Coertzen, 14 Ederies Arendse, 13 Kyle Steyn (captain), 12 Andrew Swarts, 11 Enver Brandt, 10 George Whitehead, 9 Christiaan Meyer, 8 Conway Pretorius, 7 Sias Koen, 6 Eital; Bredenkamp, 5 Pieter Jansen van Vuren, 4 Sintu Manjezi, 3 Nicolaas Oosthuizen, 2 Khwezi Mkhafu, 1 Devon Martinus
Substitutes: 16 Wilmar Arnoldi, 17 Ruan Kamer, 18 Wandile Putuma, 19 Jonathan Janse van Rensburg, 20 Zak Burger, 21 Christopher Bosch, 22 Tythan Adams
15 Divan Rossouw, 14 Jade Stighling, 13 Franco Naude, 12 JT Jackson, 11 Duncan Matthews, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Andre Warner, 8 Hanro Liebenberg (captain), 7 Nic de Jager, 6 Ruan Steenkamp, 5 Eli Snyman, 4 Hendré Stassen, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Matthys Basson
Substitutes: 16 Edgar Marutlulle, 17 Dayan van der Westhuizen, 18 Ruan Nortje, 19 Jano Venter, 20 Ivan van Zyl, 21 Tinus de Beer, 22 Dylan Sage