“Our scrum, in particular, was dominant on the day and allowed the outside backs some opportunities. I feel the guys can be proud of their effort”
Tafel Lager Griquas are still in the top spot of the SuperSport Rugby Challenge log, ahead of their nearest rivals the ISG Pumas on points-difference; this after the Kimberley team thumped the Vodacom Blue Bulls 38-17 on Saturday at Tafel Lager Park. In fact, the match was so one-sided that at half-time Griquas had already taken a 21-7 lead.
An ecstatic Griqua conditioning and fitness coach, Jacques du Toit, spoke to the DFA after the match. “Achieving five (log) points against any Bulls outfit is a great achievement. The players really applied themselves and we were particularly happy with how they came off the line to apply pressure to a very good Blue Bulls outfit.
“Our scrum, in particular, was dominant on the day and allowed the outside backs some opportunities. I feel the guys can be proud of their effort,” Du Toit said.
“With every win, there is always different work (for us to do) and areas where we can improve. Our ability to hold on to possession for longer will be vital going forward,” he added.
“We just lost possession too easily at times. But for now, the players can enjoy the win and come back on Monday and start to prepare and look forward to the next challenge, against the Pumas, away,” the coach concluded.
No doubt Griquas will take great confidence from this victory as they prepare to head up to Nelspruit to take on the defending champions, the Pumas, this weekend in what promises to be an extremely tough clash.
The Griqua assistant and backline coach Scott Mathie also spoke to the DFA after the game, saying that the team is improving though they still have some work to do.
“It was a good victory for us against the Bulls. Taking five points from the game was always going to be a pleasing result, and although the team played well in parts it was still a performance that we can improve upon,” he said.
“Our scrum and maul functioned well on the day and the team were resolute in defence, holding the Bulls to only 17 points. Although the team managed to amass 38 points on the attack, we again left a few tries out there, and we were also left to rue far too many turnovers.
“The attack functioned a lot better in the second half, as we were able to stem the aggressive line speed of the Bulls and make inroads into their defence by playing flatter and more direct,” Mathie added.
The DFA also spoke to some of the crowd in the aftermath of the game. One spectator said that what impressed him most was that the Griqua scrum looked very good and the organisation of the team on attack and in defence has taken a step up.
“There is a confidence about the team which bodes well for the season ahead,” he said.
It was all Griquas for large parts of Saturday’s game. The home team started off strongly with wing Ederies Arendse dotting down in the ninth minute. Fly-half George Whitehead converted.
The Bulls cranked up a gear and drew level minutes later as Springbok wing Travis Ismaiel scored. Fly-half Fiela Boshoff added the extras. This seemed to wake up the hosts, as they scored two more tries in the first half courtesy of hooker AJ le Roux and inside centre André Swarts before the half-hour mark. Whitehead converted both tries to hand the Peacock Blues the 21-7 half-time lead.
At the restart, the men from Pretoria ensured that they were the first to score. Inside centre, JT Jackson dotted down and Boshoff made no mistake with the extras.
Jackson closed the gap on the scoreboard, slotting a penalty four minutes later, but the Blue Bulls’ strong start to the second half came to an abrupt end in the 55th minute as Griqua flanker, Sias Koen, dotted down close to the posts, and Whitehead made no mistake with the easy two-pointer.
Whitehead, who had a flawless game with the boot, then stretched the home team’s lead with a penalty, before Arendse bagged his brace with 14 minutes left on the clock. And Whitehead’s conversion sealed the 38-17 and ensured that Griquas’ unbeaten run remained on track.
Griquas, (Tries): Ederies Arendse (2), AJ le Roux, André Swarts, Sias Koen. (Conversion): George Whitehead (5). (Penalty): Whitehead.
Blue Bulls, (Tries): Travis Ismaiel, JT Jackson. (Conversions): Fiela Boshoff (2). (Penalty): Jackson.