The Bulls, with numerous URC players on their squad, looked poised to impose their old dominance in national rugby with a massive first half against Griquas in the Currie Cup match at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday night, but visitors refused to accept. a subdued and almost overturned role in the second half.
The Bulls, after leading 36-5 at half-time, ultimately won 48-38, but the Griquas were clearly the better side in the second half, beating the defending champions 33-12 in the second forty.
Time the main difference for the Bulls
The Bulls’ experience of playing against European opponents in the URC was very useful in the first half as Griquas just couldn’t cope with the pace and intensity of the game. The visitors were adequately dominated as the Bulls raced in six attempts to gain a massive lead at the interval.
It was clinical on the part of the Bulls as almost every step is blocked off, the forwards gave them a wonderful platform and played with some adventure.
Almost lethal yellow cards for Bulls
The Bulls picked up where they left off early in the second half when a rolling maul try by hooker Jan-Hendrik Wessels brought the lead to 41-5. But then two yellow cards – for prop Lizo Gqoboka, for the collapse of a maul, and winger Madosh Tambwe, for a deliberate knock-on – in the space of three minutes were a blow to the Bulls. Playing against 13 men provided Griquas momentum and confidence and they played tremendously well to provide an adequate and competitive match for the crowd.
Tambwe’s selling price is expected to rise
Wing Madosh Tambwe’s move to Europe has now been confirmed, but Loftus Versfeld’s new star would impress his future employers with a dazzling halftime show. He started with a creaky tackle in defense, got great shots in the air and looked lethal every time he ran with the ball. He would have popped up across the back line with an injection of raw pace, a perfectly timed pass to winger Stravino Jacobs who set the opening goal in the third minute. His power play was also on display and he also set the last half of the first half, by winger Canan Moodie, eliminating a couple of tackles and then breaking through the defensive line.
Griquas is not to be underestimated
Scoring six tries gave Griquas a bonus point, keeping them in the top four on the register and keeping their challenge in the semifinals. One of the prerequisites for being in the semifinals is that you are a highly competitive team and Griquas proved in the second half that he definitely belongs.
Flank Hanru Sirgel led the way with two barnstorming attempts as the Griquas pack began to take over the business.
Bulls: Tries – Stravino Jacobs (2), Cyle Brink, Reinhardt Ludwig, Canan Moodie, Jan-Hendrik Wessels, Harold Vorster. Conversions: Chris Smith (5). Penalty – Smith.
Griquas: Tries – Sango Xamlashe, penalty goal, Munier Hartzenberg, Hanru Sirgel (2). Christopher Hollis. Conversions – Zander du Plessis (3).