Fri 17 Jun 2022 | 09:48

Whitehead heroics end 52-year drought for Griquas

Whitehead heroics end 52-year drought for Griquas
Fri 17 Jun 2022 | 09:48
Whitehead heroics end 52-year drought for Griquas
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MATCH REPORT: Replacement George Whitehead scored 18 points, as Griquas knocked the defending-champion Bulls out of the 2022 Currie Cup competition.

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The 30-19 win – a match in which both teams scored three tries – saw Griquas advance to the competition’s Final for the first time in 52 years.

It was in 1970 that the Kimberley side won the last of their three Currie Cup titles.

Based on Friday’s heroic performance, the Class of 2022 has a very real chance of replicating the ‘Cinderella act’ of five decades ago.

Whitehead scored a crucial second-half try, kicked two conversions and three penalties.

* To recap all the drama, CLICK HERE!

The Bulls dominated the early exchanges, winning a penalty almost in front of the Griquas posts. However, flyhalf Juan Mostert made a real hash of the attempt at goal.

Once Griquas got their hands on the ball, they made a hash of a couple of threatening raids – coughing up the ball deep inside the Bulls’ 22.

It left the teams deadlocked at the end of the first quarter.

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Bulls captain Lizo Gqoboka opened the scoring in the 25th minute – barging over from short range, after a line-out deep inside the Griquas 22 and a couple of phases. Mostert made it 7-0 with the conversion.

Griquas continued to force passes on the attack, continuously coughing up the ball inside the Bulls’ 22.’The visitors didn’t do themselves any favours with a litany of other errors and penalties.

After the hooter for half-time had sounded, Griquas won a scrum penalty 45 metres out and George Whitehead narrowed the gap to 3-7 at the break.

Early in the second half, the Bulls were penalised at a tackle and Whitehead made it a one-point game.

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Soon afterwards Griquas lost their captain, Niel Otto – after he got his head on the wrong side of a tackle and was removed for suspected concussion.

In the 48th minute, the TMO and referee looked at a clean-out from Bulls prop Jacques van Rooyen, who was yellow-carded for dangerous play.

An offside penalty soon afterwards saw Whitehead take a shot from the halfway line, giving Griquas the lead for the first time 9-7.

That was followed by a power failure that saw the bulk of the stadium lights disappear. After a brief delay, the game resumed.

Griquas’ first try followed in the 54th minute – a team try that saw them move it left from a scrum, set up a ruck and came back right where they exposed the Bulls’ defence. Flank Hanru Sirgel finished off the move, Whitehead’s conversion making it 16-7.

Now Griquas put up a solid defensive wall, forcing the hoists into an ill-advised kick directly into touch.

From an attacking line-out, Griquas took it through the phases, the forwards launching a series of fierce raids before Whitehead burst over. The replacement converted his own try – 23-7 with just over 10 minutes remaining.

The Bulls launched a series of desperate raids, with replacement Bernard van der Linde finishing off a break inside the Griquas half, the conversion narrowing the gap to nine points – 14-23.

However, Griquas were awarded a penalty try soon afterwards, when the Bulls illegally collapsed a maul over their own line – 30-14.

The Bulls, becoming ever-more desperate, started making mistakes as they attempted to launch another series of raids into Griquas territory.

Mostert eventually got the Bulls’ third try in the 80th minute, but the conversion was wide – leaving the score at 19-30, as the hooter for full-time sound.

Even though the referee ruled there was time for a restart, the Bulls were penalised almost immediately – sending Griquas into the final for the first time in 52 years.

Moment of the match: The George Whitehead try in the 67th minute was a clear sign that something special was on the cards, but that powerful maul and penalty try four minutes from time sealed the win.

Man of the match: So many heroes – in the starting XV and on the bench. In the midfield, the combination of Sango Xamlashe and Rynhardt Jonker is going to attract attention from several bigger unions. Zander du Plessis was again the puppet-master in the No.10 jersey, while Johan Mulder was also special at scrumhalf. All the forwards battled bravely. Our award goes to the undoubted hero – George Whitehead, for his unerring boot and mastery as a second playmaker. His calm demeanour is exactly what his team needed in that manic final quarter.

The scorers

For the Bulls
Tries: Gqoboka, Van der Linde, Mostert
Cons: Mostert 2

For Griquas
Tries: Sirgel, Whitehead, Penalty try
Cons: Whitehead 2, Penalty try does not require a conversion
Pens: Whitehead 3

Yellow card: Jacques van Rooyen (Bulls, 48 – foul play, dangerous clean-out)

Teams

Bulls: 15 Richard Kriel, 14 Tharquinn Manuel, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Marco Jansen van Vuren, 11 Stedman Gans, 10 Juan Mostert, 9 Keagan Johannes, 8 Muller Uys, 7 Ruan Delport, 6 Jaco Labuschagne, 5 Reinhardt Ludwig, 4 Raynard Roets, 3 Jacques van Rooyen, 2 Jan-Hendrik Wessels, 1 Lizo Gqoboka (captain).
Replacements: 16 Sidney Tobias, 17 Dylan Smith, 18 Francois Klopper, 19 Willie Potgieter, 20 Stephan Smit, 21 Bernard van der Linde, 22 Niel Beukes, 23 Quewin Nortje.

Griquas: 15 Ashlon Davids, 14 Munier Hartzenberg, 13 Sango Xamlashe, 12 Rynhardt Jonker, 11 Luther Obi, 10 Zander du Plessis, 9 Johan Mulder, 8 Sibabalo Qoma, 7 Hanru Sirgel, 6 Niel Otto (captain), 5 Derik Pretorius, 4 Johan Retief, 3 Janu Botha, 2 Janco Uys, 1 Kudzwai Dube.
Replacements: 16 Gustav du Rand, 17 Eddie Davids, 18 Andries Schutte, 19 Cameron Lindsay, 20 Werner Gouws, 21 Fiela Boshoff, 22 George Whitehead, 23 Christopher Hollis

Referee: Griffin Colby
Assistant referees: Cwengile Jadezweni, Phumzile Mbewu
TMO: Ben Crouse

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PV: 17
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