Griquas blitz Bulls

JON CARDINELLI reports on Griquas’ 49-34 bonus-point win against the battling Blue Bulls in Kimberley.

It may not have been the most convincing performance, as there were times in this fixture where Griquas allowed the Bulls back into the game, but the victory and the bonus point were desperately needed at this crucial stage of the season. Having achieved that, Griquas have kept their play-off prospects alive.

The result is a massive setback for the Bulls. It could be viewed as a brave fightback, as at one stage they were 23-0 down and on the brink of a serious hiding. They managed to claw their way back into the contest with a strong second and third quarter, but ultimately that poor opening 20 minutes had proved too much of a setback.

It was during that first quarter that the attacking threat of Griquas was most prominent. Wing Rocco Jansen had a hand in two of the tries, scoring the first and sparking the second. Flyhalf Francois Brummer was in fine goal-kicking form, and also contributed a try. It was during this period where the Bulls defence was at its most generous.

But the men from Pretoria hit back right before half-time with two converted tries. A further eight points right after the break saw the Bulls trailing by just seven points. It was an unbelievable scoreline considering what had transpired in those opening 20 minutes.

Jean Stemmet scored an important try in the 55th minute. It ensured Griquas secured the bonus point for four tries, but more importantly extended the hosts’ lead to 34-22. As the game approached the final quarter, Griquas enjoyed a substantial advantage.

The Bulls grew desperate, and this only served to play into Griquas’ hands. The hosts punished some poor Bulls defence with another seven-pointer, and this served to further inflate the lead.

A try by Werner Kruger and subsequent conversion by Louis Fouche narrowed the deficit to 12 points, but it was a gap they were never going to close in 10 minutes.

What Kruger’s score did give the hosts was a bonus point, and this log point could prove so important in terms of their play-off ambitions, as well as their intention to avoid the promotion-relegation match.