Bulls rout hapless Griquas
The Blues Bulls warmed up for the Currie Cup play-offs with an impressive second-half rout of Griquas on Saturday.
The 46-12 victory at Loftus Versfeld would give the men in blue plenty of confidence as they head to Newlands next week to take on Western Province in the semifinal.
After a scrappy first half the Bulls held a 20-12 lead at half-time. But then they cut lose, scoring four more tries and 26 unanswered points.
Their biggest concern, ahead of next week's trip to Newlands, will be the injuries of scrumhalf Piet van Zyl – who limped off in the first half – and centre Burger Odendaal, who was clutching his arm as he walked off early in the second half.
The opening quarter had a few entertaining moments, but for the most it was a stop-start affair littered with penalties and errors.
Despite dominating the set pieces, the Bulls failed to turn their advantage on the field into enough points on the board.
It was only once they had a one-man advantage that they showed the necessary desire and energy to produce a try from a powerful drive.
While they played with greater rhythm in the second half, the error rate was still far too high.
The Bulls got the scoring going, when Bjorn Basson intercept a sloppy pass and sprinted clear in the second minute.
In contrast Griquas' first try, by left wing Ederies Arendse, had a lot more creativity attached to it – with Danie Dames delivering the crucial pass.
Jacques-Louis Potgieter kicked penalties in the 20th and 28th minutes, before Arendse against showed his pace and stepping skills to leave a couple of Bulls defenders in his wake.
Jacquin Jansen, who kicked the first conversion, failed with his second attempt – making it a one-point game, 12-13.
However, Griquas were reduced to 14 men in the 36th minute, when prop Simon Westraadt was sent to the sin bin for a spear tackle. And from the resulting penalty, which was turned into a line-out, Deon Stegmann got an armchair ride over for his team's second try. Potgieter's conversion made it 20-12.
The Bulls turned on the screws early in the second half, Basson getting his second try with a simple one-two move down the blindside, involving replacement scrumhalf Rudy Page from the back of a scrum. Potgieter failed to find the target, but at 25-12 the lead was getting too big for Griquas.
Basson completed his hat-trick when the Bulls attacked from deep and hooker Callie Visagie made good ground, before giving the scoring pass to the Bulls flyer. Potgieter added the conversion – 32-12.
Griquas had replacement hooker Ryno Barnes red-carded for verbal abuse of the referee.
And soon afterwards Springbok flyhalf Handré Pollard went over, as he squeezed between two forwards. He added the conversion, for a 39-12 lead.
Pollard then produced another bit of late magic, a chip-kick, that put Akona Ndungane over for the sixth try. Pollard added the conversion to make the final score 46-12.
Man of the match: Ederies Arendse showed some great pace and stepping skills in scoring his tries. Paul Willemse did some great work with the ball in hand and stole a few line-outs. Jacques du Plessis was also very active. Bjorn Basson, as you have come to expect, was impressive when the ball was put in he air and showed his finishing skills by scoring a hat-trick. However, our award goes to Bulls lock Grant Hattingh, who looked very impressive in carrying the ball up – often – in midfield. But he certainly did not shirk his duties in the set pieces.
For the Blue Bulls:
Tries: Basson 3, Stegmann, Pollard, Ndungane
Cons: Potgieter 3, Pollard 2
Pens: Potgieter 2
Tries: Arendse 2
Yellow card: Simon Westraadt (Griquas, 36 – foul play, spear tackle)
Red card: Ryno Barnes (Griquas, 73 – verbal abuse of the referee)
Blue Bulls: 15 Ulrich Beyers, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 William Small-Smith, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Jono Ross, 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Deon Stegmann (captain), 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Dean Greyling.
Replacements: 16 Callie Visagie, 17 Werner Kruger, 18 Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, 19 Wiaan Liebenberg, 20 Rudy Paige, 21 Handré Pollard, 22 Jesse Kriel.
Griquas: 15 Jacquin Jansen, 14 Danie Dames, 13 Petrus Vermeulen, 12 Johnathan Francke, 11 Ederies Arendse, 10 Francois Brummer (captain), 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Ruaan Lerm, 7 Jonathan Adendorf, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Jaco Nepgen, 4 Hugo Kloppers, 3 Nicolaas van Dyk, 2 Martin Bezuidenhout, 1 Simon Westraadt.
Replacements: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Wesley Cloete, 18 RJ Liebenberg, 19 Burger Schoeman, 20 Rudi van Rooyen, 21 Dean Grant, 22 Gideon la Grange.
Referee: Lesego Legoete
Assistant referees: Quinton Immelman, Sieg van Staden
TMO: Willie Vos