Blue Bulls win 96-point thriller

Griquas fought from the beginning to the end and definitely made the Blue Bulls think, but the visitors eventually won 51-45 in Kimberley.

The hosts were competitive throughout the first half, but the Bulls took a six point lead by the break at 20-26 having scored four tries and converted three. Griquas scored two converted tries and two penalties in the half with André Swarts successfully kicking everything.

The Blue Bulls opened the scoring with a try from Abongile Nonkontwana but the Griquas quickly responded with a try from Ederies Arendse. Piet van Zyl, who had a good game overall, scored next as he leapt over a few tackled players to ground the ball over the line.

Warrick Gelant gave away a penalty and the Bulls made a few handling errors as Griquas took the lead. The most damaging of these errors was a pass that was quickly intercepted by Enver Brandt, who raced past everyone to score the next try for the Griquas. The conversion and a penalty goal from Swarts pushed the Griquas' lead to eight points.

The Blue Bulls then played disciplined rugby for the rest of the half, with Jaco Visagie and Duncan Matthews scoring two brilliant tries and Tinus de Beer converting them.

The second half started with Griquas quickly taking back the lead in the game with a penalty goal from Swarts and a long range try from Christiaan Meyer. The Bulls were punished for their loose passes first by Brandt in the first half and then by Meyer in the second, both scoring tries.

The defining moment in the game was when the Griquas captain was shown a yellow card. AJ Coertzen was sent to the sin bin for cynical play and the Bulls made the most of this chance. They increased the pace of the game and scored a penalty and two tries while the Griquas were a player short. Gelant scored the first try during this period and Andre Warner scored the second. Warner’s try was one of the highlights of the game as the Bulls ran nice angles and at good pace before Warner cut inside Travis Ismaiel to score.

Griquas fought their way back with two important tries and the Blue Bulls looked like they were under pressure. Brandt’s second try of the night was just as spectacular as the first one. He received the pass on the wing and accelerated past the Bulls defence to go all the way. The Griquas were in the lead, but Ismaiel’s try ensured that the Bulls took their lead back and they went on to win the game.

The scorers:

For Griquas:
Tries: Arendse, Brandt, Meyer, Van Rensburg, Brandt
Cons: Swarts 4
Pens: Swarts 4
Yellow Card: Coertzen

For Blue Bulls:
Tries: Nonkontwana, Van Zyl, Visagie, Matthews, Gelant, Warner, Ismaiel
Cons: De Beer 3, Stander 2
Pens: De Beer, Gelant

Griquas: 15 AJ Coertzen (c), 14 Ederies Arendse, 13 Tertius Kruger, 12 Clinton Swart, 11 Koch Marx, 10 André Swarts, 9 Christiaan Meyer, 8 Jonathan Janse van Rensburg, 7 Sias Koen, 6 RJ Liebenberg, 5 FP Pelser, 4 Mzwanele Zito, 3 Ewald van der Westhuizen, 2 AJ le Roux, 1 Liam Hendricks
Replacements: 16 Marius Fourie, 17 Nicolaas Oosthuizen, 18 Jonathan Adendorf, 19 Wendal Wehr, 20 Poerie van Rooyen, 21 George Whitehead, 23 Enver Brandt

Blue Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Franco Naude, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Duncan Matthews, 10 Tony Jantjies, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Nic de Jager, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Boom Prinsloo (c), 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 Tinus de Beer, 22 JT Jackson

Referee: AJ Jacobs
Assistant Referees: Jaco Pretorius, Darren Colby
TMO: JJ Wagner