NICK PAWSON watched Griquas put on a thrilling second-half display, bringing themselves back into play-off contention with a 37-21 win over the Golden Lions in Kimberley.
Sweltering heat added to GWK Park’s already hostile conditions for visiting teams. The Lions led 18-14 at half-time and looked to go on and consolidate their position at the top of the Currie Cup log. Alas, Griquas proved yet again why they’re such a menacing side to play in their back yard.
The hosts had the early ascendency, thanks in part to a shoddy Lions lineout and Bandise Maku’s woeful throwing. The Lions also conceded more turnovers on the day and on one or two occasions were bossed in the scrums – in fact it was a scrum penalty in the 46th minute that marked the turning point for the home side.
Griquas let in two relatively soft tries in the first half – flanker Cobus Grobbelaar scored off a lineout maul while Michael Rhodes finished off some piggy-in-the-middle type interplay. The hosts then hit back with two of their own after better commitment was spearheaded by their forwards. Prop Lourens Adriaanse wrestled over the tryline for his team on the 30-minute mark, and just before half-time, eighthman Leon Karemaker scored off the back of a strong 5m scrum.
Griquas had 53% of the possession in the first half but trailed by four points at the interval. A tight contest was on the cards.
The heat was evidently affecting players’ concentration and errors began creeping in early in the second half. Griquas pounced. Flyhalf Francois Brummer and Man of the Match Willie le Roux led the resurgence with a range of tactical kicks – one resulting in Rocco Jansen’s first try. The winger did brilliantly to chase and gather just millimetres from the corner touchline.
Jansen scored a runaway second (and the bonus-point) try just on full-time off another Griquas counter-attack and lethargic Lions defence.
The Lions still hold top spot on the log while Griquas move into fourth position, if only for a few hours pending the Cheetahs-Sharks result.