Bulls survive gallant Griquas fightback
CURRIE CUP REPORT: The Bulls reclaimed the top spot in the Currie Cup standings after they survived a second-half fightback from Griquas to record a 48-38 win at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
The home side went into the break leading 36-5 after they outscored their opponents by five tries to one.
Ten minutes into the second half, yellow cards to Lizo Gqoboka and Madosh Tambwe in quick succession breathed new life into the contest with Griquas closing the deficit to 41-24 in the 10-minute period they had a two-man advantage through a penalty try and touchdowns by Munier Hartzenberg and Hanru Sirgel.
Despite a try from Harold Vorster, momentum stayed with the never-say-die visitors, who scored two more tries to reduce the gap to 10 before they conceded a yellow card of their own at the end of a breathless battle.
The Bulls got off to a fast start through Stravino Jacobs, whose fancy feet saw him beat two defenders to score in fine style in the right-hand corner three minutes into the match. Chris Smith couldn’t add the extras – his only miss of the half – but it was an early signal of intent by the home team.
Sango Xamlashe was a picture of determination as he pumped his legs in contact and willed his way over with the help of a couple of teammates to hit right back for the visitors. The outside centre was pinged at the subsequent restart and Smith split the uprights to regain the lead, which quickly stretched to 10 when Cyle Brink dotted down despite some desperate defence by Griquas.
Brink was seemingly over for his second moments later but was ruled to have been held by referee Morne Ferreira. Instead, it was Jacobs who bagged his second after being freed up by the Springbok duo of Cornal Hendricks and captain Arno Botha.
Constantly shifting the point of attack, the Bulls then kept it tight and Robert Hunt rumbled over, however, the tighthead was unable to ground the ball amidst the sea of bodies.
It was but a momentary respite for the visitors as a very industrious Reinhardt Ludwig scored the bonus-point try before a bit of brilliance from Tambwe led to Champion of the Match Canan Moodie adding a fifth to make 36-5 at half-time.
It was more of the same at the start of the second half as Jan-Hendrik Wessels was mauled over before the Bulls’ double blow. Gqoboka was the first to be yellow-carded for collapsing the maul, which cost his team a penalty try as well, with Tambwe joining him in the sin bin for a deliberate knockdown.
Hartzenberg was quick to pounce, followed by hard-working flank Sirgel, who scored a brace, with replacement Chris Hollis also going over and Zander du Plessis adding three conversions. A final twist saw the gutsy visitors finish the match with 14 men as Luther Obi saw yellow for a dangerous tackle on Tambwe.
Man of the match: Madosh Tambwe was outstanding for the home side before he got his yellow card. He was lethal out wide and good under the high ball. However, the award goes to Griquas loose forward Hanru Sirgel, who played out of his skin in the second half. His work rate was incredible, and he scored two tries in his team’s amazing fightback.
Tries: Jacobs 2, Brink, Ludwig, Moodie, Wessels, Vorster
Cons: Smith 5
Tries: Xamlashe, Penalty Try, Hartzenberg, Sirgel 2, Hollis
Cons: Du Plessis 3
Yellow cards: Lizo Gqoboka (Bulls, 52′ – cynical play, collapsing the maul); Madosh Tambwe (Bulls, 53′ – cynical play, deliberate knock-on); Luther Obi (Griquas, 79′ – foul play, high tackle)
Bulls: 15 Canan Moodie, 14 Stravino Jacobs, 13 Cornal Hendricks, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Madosh Tambwe, 10 Chris Smith, 9 Embrose Papier, 8 WJ Steenkamp, 7 Cyle Brink, 6 Arno Botha (captain), 5 Reinhardt Ludwig, 4 Walt Steenkamp, 3 Robert Hunt, 2 Jan-Hendrik Wessels, 1 Lizo Gqoboka.
Replacements: 16 Schalk Erasmus, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima, 18 Dylan Smith, 19 Ruan Nortje, 20 Muller Uys, 21 Keagan Johannes, 22 Juan Mostert, 23 Stedman Gans.
Griquas: 15 Rynhardt Jonker, 14 Munier Hartzenberg, 13 Sango Xamlashe, 12 Alex-Zander du Plessis, 11 Luther Obi, 10 George Whitehead, 9 Johan Mulder, 8 Sibabalo Qoma, 7 Hanru Sirgel, 6 Niel Otto (captain), 5 Derik Pretorius, 4 Johan Retief, 3 Janu Botha, 2 Gustav du Randt, 1 Kudzwai Dube.
Replacements: 16 Janco Uys, 17 Edward Davids, 18 Justin Forwood, 19 Cameron Lindsay, 20 Luyolo Dapula, 21 Stefan Ungerer, 22 Christopher Hollis, 23 Ashlon Davids.
Referee: Morne Ferreira
Assistant referees: Cwengile Jadezweni, Local appointment
TMO: Quinton Immelman
Additional source: SA Rugby