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Slow starting Griquas left it too late

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Despite the visitors making a fantastic comeback in the second half they nonetheless went down by a single point 32-31, against their central region neighbours who had to defend for all they were worth to hold on to their lead.

Tafel Lager Griquas flyhalf André Swarts.

A dreadful first half performance and being down 24-0 at half-time cost the Tafel Lager Griquas yesterday, when it looked as if all last week’s hard practice had flown out of the window for the Kimberley team in their SuperSport Rugby Challenge fixture against the Toyota Free State XV at the Impala Stadium in Rustenburg yesterday.

Despite the visitors making a fantastic comeback in the second half they nonetheless went down by a single point 32-31, against their central region neighbours who had to defend for all they were worth to hold on to their lead.

Free State completely dominated the first half, running in three converted tries and slotting a penalty, with Griquas after their bye not quite in the match at all. Griquas missed tackles and were guilty of ill-discipline, which was a large part of their problem.

It was probably a case of some harsh words from the coaching staff at the break that caused Griquas to really turn things around, playing the brand of rugby that their supporters have come to expect from them. But a missed conversion right near the end of the game by Pieter-Steyn de Wet put paid to their hopes of what would have been a brilliant come-from-behind victory.

Points for Free State in the first half came from tries by Tertius Kruger, Gerhard Olivier and Ernst Stapelberg, while the reliable Stapelberg slotted all three conversion as well as putting over a penalty.

Griquas really turned on the pressure, running in five tries in the second half, while Free State scored a total of four tries during the match. Tries for Griquas courtesy of Conway Pretorius, Enver Brandt, Jono Janse van Rensburg, while centre Kyle Steyn dotted down twice, and De Wet converted three of the visitors’ tries.

Griqua managed to earn two bonus points from the match, while Free State collected a full haul of five points for their efforts, putting them on top of the Central Section log with 15 points, and Griquas in second place with 12 points.

Griquas next match will be on Saturday against the Down Touch Griffons at the Sivos Rugby Stadium in Kathu at 3pm.

Meanwhile, in other SuperSport Rugby Challenge weekend action the Boland Cavaliers outgunned the visiting SWD Eagles on Saturday to win their match 37-12 (half-time 19-7) at the Boland Stadium in Wellington.

The Pumas ran riot in Windhoek, smashing the Welwitschias 54-12 (half-time 33-12) in their match at the Hage Geingob Stadium in the Namibian capital also on Saturday. While on the same afternoon the Golden Lions XV ran in 10 tries to demolish the Valke 68-12 (half-time 26-5) in an impressive showing at the Barnard Stadium in Kempton Park.

While in yesterday’s late match the Cell C Sharks XV demolished the Leopards 58-27 at the Impala Rugby Football Club in Rustenburg.