Blue Bulls down Griquas in try-fest
CURRIE CUP REPORT: The Blue Bulls were foced to work hard for their 51-45 win over the Griquas in Kimberley.
The match was a real mixed bag - the occasional moment of magic but really did not deliver entertaining rugby.
The Blue Bulls outscored the hosts seven tries to five, in a game which saw the lead switched hands six times.
The Pretoria side got their Currie Cup campaign off to a good start but will have to take a look at the defence.
A break by Blue Bulls Duncan Matthews from his own 22 got the side in the Griquas' half. Quick passes by Travis Ismaiel and Jannes Kirsten set up Abongile Nonkontwana for the first try of the match, 5-0 after eight minutes.
Minutes later Griquas took the lead. The forwards' pick-up-and-drives got the hosts inside the Bulls' 22. They managed to swing the ball wide to Ederies Arendse who dived over in the corner. Andre Swarts added the extras, 7-5.
The game openend up with both sides opting to play running rugby. Blue Bulls scrumhalf Piet Van Zyl's tap-and-go inside the Griquas' 22 made sure he leapt over the ruck for the try. At first, it looked like he lost forward but the TMO ruled it was a try.
The Blue Bulls narrow 12-10 lead gave them a sense of false dominance and they started to focus less on defence, which proved to be troublesome. They started to give away easy penalties and passes failed to reach the hands.
In contrast, trailing shifted the Griquas into a different gear and soon they went up 20-12. Two successful penalties by Andre Swart and a marvellous intercepted try by Enver Brandt handed the home side the eight points advantage.
With 10 minutes left in the first half, the Pretoria side were eager to regain the lead. And two unanswered tries by hooker Jaco Visagie and wing Duncan Matthews handed the Blue Bulls a 26-20 lead at the break.
The hosts started the second-half in good form. After just five minutes of the second stanza, they had a lead, thanks to Swarts' successful penalty, and a great intercepted try this time by Christiaan Meyer, 28-26.
De Beer and A Swarts exchanged penalty kicks before Griquas were dealt a blow when captain AJ Coertzen was yellow carded for a cynical foul. Gelant put the Blue Bulls into a 32-31 lead from the resulting penalty.
The Blue Bulls gradually took control of proceedings. They had a five-metre line-out. After some patience and controlled showed around the fringes they opted to feed the line which eventually resulted in Gelant's try. Stander failed to add the extras.
On the hour mark, replacement Andre Warner extended the Blue Bulls' lead when he registered his name on the score sheet. Stander added the extras, 44-31.
The Blue Bulls had their tails up but the hosts narrowed the gap with 15 minutes left on the clock. Jonathan Janse van Rensburg crashed down the tryline, while Brandt's solo run from his own half made sure the wing bagged a brace of tries.
Whitehead converted both tries to give the host the lead, 46-45.
However, Ismaiel scored his sides seventh try and made sure they head home with the win.
Man of the match: Blue Bulls fullback Warrick Gelant was relentless in attack, and his counter attacks just gave his side territorial advantage. However, our man of the match goes Griquas replacement Enver Brandt, not only did he score a brace but he who produced magic moments and proved to be a thorn in the Blue Bulls' side.
Tries: Arendse, Brandt 2, Meyer, Jansen van Rensburg
Cons: A Swarts 2, Whitehead 2
Pens: A Swarts 3
For Blue Bulls:
Tries: Nonkontwana, Van Zyl, Visagie, Matthews, Gelant, Warner,
Cons: De Beer 2, Stander 3
Pens: De Beer, Gelant
Yellow Card: AJ Coertzen (Griquas, 53 - Cynical foul)
Griquas: 15 Adriaan Coertzen (captain), 14 Ederies Arendse, 13 Tertius Kruger, 12 Clinton Swart, 11 Koch Marx, 10 Andre Swarts, 9 Christiaan Meyer, 8 Jonathan Janse van Rensburg, 7 Sias Koen, 6 RJ Liebenberg, 5 Floris Pelser, 4 Mzwanele Zito, 3 Stephan Kotze, 2 Abraham le Roux, 1 Liam Hendricks.
Replacements: 16 Marius Fourie, 17 Nicolaas Oosthuizen, 18 Jonathan Adendorf, 19 Wendal Wehr, 20 Rudi Van Rooyen, 21 George Whitehead, 22 Enver Brandt.
Blue Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Franco Naude, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Duncan Matthews, 10 Tinus de Beer, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Nic de Jager, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Boom Prinsloo (captain), 5 Abongile Nonkontwana, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Conraad van Vuuren, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Pierre Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Jan-Henning Campher, 17 John-Roy Jenkinson, 18 Freddy Ngoza, 19 Shaun Adendorff, 20 Andre Warner, 21 Joshua Stander, 22 JT Jackson.
Referee: AJ Jacobs
Assistant referees: Jaco Pretorius, Darren Colby
TMO: JJ Wagner