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Griquas come close to an upset

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There is still a lot of life left in the oldest domestic competition in the world

Shaun Andendorff of Blue Bulls tackles Ederies Arendse of Griquas during the Currie Cup Rugby match between Blue Bulls and Griquas on Friday night at Loftus Versfeld Stadium. Picture: Sydney Mahlangu /BackpagePix

Blue Bulls(27) 44

Tries: Sibahle Manxwane, Dayan van der Westhuizen, Manie Libbok (3). Conversions: Marnitz Boshoff (5). Penalties: Marnitz Boshoff (2), Tony Jantjies


Griquas(21) 42
Tries: Ederies Arendse (2), Christiaan Meyer, Wandile Putuma, AJ Coertzen (2). Conversions: Andre Swarts (3), George Whitehead (3).

 
Many continue to question the quality of this year’s Currie Cup and almost every week a few individuals and teams respond emphatically that there is still a lot of life left in the oldest domestic competition in the world.
This time it was the turn of Junior Springbok Manie Libbok to quash any suggestions the competition is a watered-down affair as he put on a near flawless display of running rugby to inspire the Blue Bulls to their first win in five matches.
The 20-year-old Libbok produced a breathtaking solo run from 60 metres out for his first try in the 25th minute before being the recipient of a good off-load from lock Aston Fortuin deep within Bulls territory to sprint all of 80 metres.
The third try of the night may have required a bit more assistance from his teammates after prop Dayan van der Westhuizen broke free from the halfway line, but Libbok found himself at the right place at the right time to receive a short pass from Edgar Marutlulle.
With the scalps of Western Province and the Free State Cheetahs to boast of, it came as no surprise that Griquas would try for a come-from-behind win and they almost did with three tries in the last 20 minutes.
Griquas will feel aggrieved at themselves for their poor discipline which ultimately handed the game to the Bulls with the three penalty kicks the hosts managed to slot over.
The men from Kimberley ran in six tries, as opposed to the Bulls’ five which came from Sibahle Manxwane, Dayan van der Westhuizen and obviously Libbok.
While the Bulls had looked impressive and dangerous with ball in hand for most of the first half, they will have to make a massive step up in improving their defence if they are to remain in the top three sides on the log and make the play-offs.
Furthermore, the shake up made by coach John Mitchell proved beneficial as the frontrow of Lizo Gqoboka, Marutlulle and Van der Westhuizen was dominant, while the remainder of the pack held their own in the war up front.
For Griquas, this may seem to be a victory that got away, but they will take heart from the bonus point they picked up on the road as it still keeps them firmly in the hunt with five matches remaining.
And who said that the Currie Cup was dead?