Vodacom Blue Bulls beat Griquas

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The Blue Bulls kept alive their Currie Cup play-off hopes with an impressive 52-10 rout of Griquas in Kimberley on Saturday, reports iafrica.com.

Having held a narrow five-point (15-10) lead at half-time, the Bulls cut loose after the break to score 37 unanswered points in a seven-try rout.

The Bulls, playing into a stiff breeze in the first half, settled down the quickest of the two teams and dominated the opening half-hour.

Tactically they were spot on in keeping the ball in hand and not allowing Griquas many opportunities to drive them back with kicks.

However, the scrums were a mess, with penalties and free kicks initially going both ways. As the game wore on Werner Kruger and Marcel van der Merwe found themselves increasingly on the wrong side of the referee's whistle and the Bulls scrum in retreat mode.

On the back of their set-piece dominance, Griquas found a way to get back into the contest - coming the way of a penalty try and a yellow card to Van der Merwe just minutes before the half-time break.

Whatever coach Pine Pienaar told the Bulls in the dressing room at half-time, they came out on fire after the break.

That, combined with Griquas' own lack of discipline - which saw centre JP Nel yellow carded - allowed the Bulls to race into a 20-point lead in a 10-minute second-half blitzkrieg.

To make matters worse, Griquas' line-out play became a shocking shambles and any semblance of a comeback quickly went out the window.

And the Bulls relished the additional freedom afforded to them to race past the 50-point mark and seal a deserved win.

Griquas had the first scoring opportunity, a penalty in the second minute after the Bulls were pinged at the breakdown, but Francois Brummer failed to find the target.

In the seventh minute Griquas were penalised at a tackle and Handré Pollard lined up - into the teeth of a stiff breeze - slotting the kick from about 45 metres out for a 3-0 lead.

The Bulls moved further ahead as the first quarter drew to a close - with flank Wiaan Liebenberg at the back of a very powerful maul for the five-pointer. Pollard's conversion attempt was nowhere near the target - 8-0.

That became 15-0 after 25 minutes, when flank Jacques du Plessis burst over from a quick ruck just five metres out. This time Pollard's conversion was good.

Griquas, after eventually settling down, started to hammer away - winning a couple of penalties and a number scrums just five metres out from the Bulls' line. The TMO was also called upon a couple of times to help out the on-field referee.

Five minutes from half-time they were rewarded with a penalty try, after repeatedly destroying the Bulls' scrum. Marcel van der Merwe was also issued with a yellow card for repeated infringements and Gouws Prinsloo added the conversion.

Prinsloo added a penalty on the stroke of half-time, as Griquas closed to gap to five points (10-15) at the break.

The Bulls had the better start in the second half, a Griquas transgression at the tackle allowing Pollard to make it an eight-point game.

That became 23-10 before the 50-minute mark, when the Bulls showed some great handling to take a turnover ball wide to the left where Akona Ndungane timed an inside pass to perfection to put William Small-Smith over. Pollard wayward kicking continued -and he pushed the conversion attempt wide.

Griquas centre JP Nel saw yellow, when he was sent to the sin bin for a professional foul.

And minutes later the bonus point (for four tries) was in the bag when big lock Paul Willemse was over the line - with the help of second row partner David Bullbring. This time Pollard added the extras - 30-10.

Pollard made that 33-10 when Griquas went offside in the 58th minute.

Small-Smith, from a sublime inside pass by Jurgen Visser, and Willemse, after a back-flip in the tackle by Marcel van der Merwe, both got a second five-pointer.

Pollard added both conversions - 47-10, with just under 20 minutes left on the clock.

The half-ton came up in the 70th minute when Jurgen Visser helped himself to five points after another raid from deep inside Bulls territory. Pollard's wayward kicking continued - 52-10.

The Bulls, despite taking the foot off the gas in the final 10 minutes, still had enough in the tank to ensure Griquas stayed scoreless for the entire second half.

Man of the match: The Griquas scrum was impressive, certainly their most potent weapon. Williams Small-Smith, Handré Pollard, Jacques du Plessis, Wiaan Liebenberg and David Bullbring all made big contributions for the visitors. However, our award goes to hard-running Blue Bulls lock Paul Willemse, who played like a loose forward, but did not shirk his work in the tight exchanges.

The scorers: For Griquas: Try: Penalty try. Conversion: Prinsloo. Penalty: Prinsloo

For the Vodacom Blue Bulls: Tries: Liebenberg, Du Plessis, Small-Smith (2), Willemse (2), Visser. Conversions: Pollard (4). Penalties: Pollard (3).

Yellow cards: Marcel van der Merwe (Blue Bulls, 35 - repeated scrum infringements), JP Nel (Griquas, 51 - professional foul, offside).

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Sep 28, 2013
Blue Bulls, Griquas, Currie Cup

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