Griffons Start and End Well
CRAVEN WEEK REPORT: In the first 20 minutes the Griffons scored 13 points. In the last 10 minutes, they scored 15 points. In the intervening 40 minutes, they scored no points but still had enough at the final whistle to win 28-24 against an Eastern Province team which dominated 40 of the 70 minutes of the match.
It was not a match to get excited about, except for the happenings in the last 10 minutes. For the rest, it was a match with little continuity, riddled with handling errors and infested with penalties. In the first half, there were 17 penalties and two yellow cards. The sun shone in cold Bloemfontein but this match was not bright – except for occasional flashes of individual brilliance.
In rich blue outfits, the Griffons kicked off, got the ball back and started running. They had virtually all the ball in the opening 20 minutes. When Eastern Province got early ball they kicked it – and the Griffons scored.
The Griffons missed a penalty kick at goal and then tapped a penalty for their first try as Jaimie Heynes sped between two defenders to score. Cammi Roux kicked a penalty and then the Griffons scored a try of unusual origins.
They kicked a penalty into touch and then, in the wind, threw in skew. Eastern Province had a rare taste of ball but decided to kick it away. Speedy Morné Maastriet got the ball, sped down the right and passed inside to tall, scrum-capped Dylan Smith who did not look like a centre but scored a try like one. And Griffons led 13-0.
But then the men from northern Free State were stung by their first yellow card – to flank Calla Pienaar – and one of the Malesu twins charged over for a try. 13-7.
Eastern Province attacked. After Marno April tackled Octavian Muller out at the corner, Eastern Province laid siege to the Griffons line with penalty and scrum – no fewer than four five-metre scrums while the Griffons did what griffons do – guard the treasure of their in-goal.
When the Griffons suffered the loss of their second flank, Neil Harmse, they still managed to keep Eastern Province out.
The second half had barely started when Griffons kicked and Eastern Province countered. Grey centre Liyema Matyolweni cut through with speed and panache and gave to Matthew Hilary who surged over for a try. Jeandré Liebenberg converted and Eastern Province led 14-13.
Eastern Province were winning turnovers at tackles and from one of them, Muller went blind, dummied and raced some 40 metres for a try.
Their next try came when they tapped a penalty and bashed till No.8 Ryben Dupont crashed over in the left corner. 24-13 with 10 minutes to play. Eastern Province looked set fair for victory.
But Heynes ran and gave inside to April that took 60 metres’ worth of speed to score, and it was 24-18.
The try that won the match looked so simple. Big Keke Morabe, a SA Schools player in 2018 and the captain of this Griffons side, burst ahead and carried on running straight through to the posts. Roux’s conversion made it 25-24 and a penalty from straight in front of the 22 made it 28-24 on the final whistle.
Tries: Jaimie Heynes, Dylan Smith, Marno April, Keke Morabe
Con: Cammi Roux
Pens: Cammi Roux 2
For Eastern Province:
Tries: Bame Malesu, Matt Hillary, Octavian Muller, Ryben Dupont
Cons: Jeandré Liebenberg 2
Eastern Province: 15 Sabastian Brandt, 14 Abo Klaas, 13 Liyema Matyolweni, 12 Brandon Wilkie (captain), 11 Siviwe Zondani, 10 Jeandré Liebenberg, 9 Octavian Muller, 8 Ryben Dupont, 7 Ruan Claassen, 6 Ruan du Toit, 5 Jarred Comley, 4 Kudzaishe Chongoma, 3 Bame Malesu, 2 Gideon Serfontein, 1 Basi Malesu
Replacements: 16 Chris Poole, 17 Zuki Sali, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Matt Hillary, 20 Danie van der Merwe, 21 Hlumelo Klaas, 22 Tyron McCree, 23 Ambesa Zenzile (Marlow)
Griffons: 15 Morné Maastriet, 14 Roscoe Ruiters, 13 Jaimie Heynes, 12 Dylan Smith, 11 Marno April, 10 Cammi Roux, 9 JC Allan, 8 Keke Morabe (captain), 7 Calla Pienaar, 6 Neil Harmse, 5 Rian Olivier, 4 Kamshen Moss, 3 Franco-Lee Ceaser, 2 Martley Baymen, 1 Johan Pretorius
Replacements: 16 Marthinus Nel, 17 Warren Louw, 18 Vuyo Holiday, 19 MacNeil Matthews, 20 Justin Kritzinger, 21 Shaquille van Heerden, 22 Duncan Amsterdam, 23 Frans Postma
Referee: Divan Uys (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Phumzile Mbewu, Anelda Coetzee
TMO: Paul Larter (Scotland)