Despite the loss, it was great to see so much action and skill on display in the encounter
If the opening round of the Currie Cup is indicative of what’s to come in this year’s competition, fans had better prepare themselves for some nail-biting moments, as well as hoarse throats.
With the defending champion Free State Cheetahs storming out of the gates with a massively impressive 47-12 win against a second-string Sharks side in Bloemfontein on Friday night, to the Tafel Lager Griquas being pipped 51-45 in the dying moments by the Blue Bulls at Tafel Lager Park on Saturday night; and then the Pumas starting their campaign in impressive fashion by overcoming the Golden Lions in Nelspruit to register a 43-36 win yesterday, there was more than enough to satisfy the thrill-seeking fan.
Griquas will probably rue their loss as a missed opportunity, with some former Griqua players saying that the team missed far too many tackles on Saturday night as well as being lacking in discipline. This was painfully apparent when the Griqua captain was shown a yellow card.
AJ Coertzen was sent to the sin bin for cynical play and the Bulls made the most of this chance. They increased the pace of the game and scored a penalty and two tries while Griquas were a player short.
In summing up the match, Griquas conditioning coach Neil Murphy told the DFA that despite the loss, it was great to see so much action and skill on display in the encounter.
“With a total of 96 points being scored during the match, the large crowd was treated to a thrilling game with attacking rugby from both teams – with both teams scoring fantastic tries.”
Murphy continued by saying that Griquas had adapted pretty well to the higher demands of the Currie Cup.
Picture: Dave Alexander
“The tempo of Currie Cup is a step up from that of the SuperSport Challenge, and at most parts we adapted well to the speed and physicality that the Bulls brought. In the set-pieces I feel we definitely matched the physical presence of the opposition and were rewarded for our slight dominance there.”
However, the coach admitted that they had just fallen short in the end.
“As mentioned in the preview (to this game) we did exactly what we didn’t want to do by giving their back three the freedom to counter. We missed three or four opportunities to get ahead again via a penalty or exit plays, and doing that in Currie Cup will get you punished,” the coach said.
Murphy concluded by saying that despite the loss, the fighting spirit and skills served as a great encouragement going forward.
“We were very pleased with the fight and belief by our players to stay in the game and how they fought for the full 80 minutes. We will, however, need to be more clinical at the basics and, going forward, missed opportunities will be punished if we don’t utilise them.”