GARETH DUNCAN watched Griquas dent the Bulls’ semi-final hopes with a 48-44 win in Kimberley.
It was one of the most exciting Currie Cup games of the season. The lead jumped seven times and 12 tries were scored on the day. While there was some poor defensive work on some occasions, credit must be given to the impressive attacking play from both teams. The Bulls and Griquas’ forwards toiled at the breakdown and set pieces, setting up an exciting contest amongst the backs that included perfect-angled runs and smart finishes by the speedsters.
In the end, it was a late Griquas fightback that sealed the win as they scored three tries in seven-minute period during the last quarter for victory.
Bulls head coach Pine Pienaar’s goal for his team was to achieve a bonus-point win, and it seemed his playes were well on track as they rallied into a 15-3 lead with two tries from wings Bjorn Basson and Akona Ndungane in the first quarter.
The enthralling duel then sparked midway through the first stanza, as Griquas fought back to go ahead 27-22 at half-time. Wings Rocco Jansen and Dusty Noble touched down while fullback Rudi Vogt scored 17 points through a try, three conversions and two penalties. Basson’s second score kept the visitors within reach at the break.
The drama then continued in the second half. Scrumhalf Jano Vermaak put the Bulls ahead seconds after the restart before they were reduced to 14 men when skipper Gary Botha was sin binned for punching in the 44th minute. It didn’t stifle the Bulls’ ascendancy though as they extended their advantage through flyhalf Louis Fouche’s penalty and flanker Jacques Potgieter’s try.
The Bulls will be disappointed with the way they finished the match, having led 39-27 at the start of the final quarter. Griquas surged ahead with three late tries in the 62nd, 64th and 69th minute of the game. Inside centre Matthew Rosslee was the star at the death, completing a late brace while Jansen finished his double too.
Potgieter grabbed a try in the final movement of the match, but it was only enough to earn the Bulls two consolation bonus points. It’s enough to keep their play-off hopes alive, but they’ll have to depend on WP dropping log points for any chance of qualifying.