Guilty of 14 missed tackles as well as a yellow card - Griquas only have themselves to blame for losing to a rejuvenated Blue Bulls side
A hat-trick by Vodacom Blue Bulls and Junior Springbok fullback Manie Libbok reignited the spark in the Pretoria outfit this past weekend, as they ended a four-match losing run, pipping the Tafel Lager Griquas 44-42 in a thrilling match on Friday.
The game saw 11 tries and 86 points scored, with a few vital penalties and Libbok’s hat-trick handing the home side the edge at Loftus Versfeld.
It was, however, not an easy win with the hosts just edging Griquas 27-21 at half-time.
Too many mistakes
The first half belonged to the Bulls who made better use of their opportunities than Griquas did, with the visitors being guilty of 14 missed tackles as well as picking up a yellow card; this in addition to numerous handling errors.
However, after some strong words from the coaching staff at the break, Griquas came out firing and showed their quality, testing the Bulls defence. The hosts held firm until the final quarter of the game, but it was enough to ensure a much needed win for the Pretoria outfit.
After the match Griqua captain AJ Coertzen lamented the disappointing performance in this narrow defeat.
“We were very disappointed in our play with lack of possession, inability to gain momentum and missed tackles. We will have to go back and work on correcting our mistakes before taking on the Lions at home on Friday,” he said.
A similarly disappointed head coach Peter Engledow told the DFA that they actually should have won this game.
“Yes we were very disappointed especially the start to the game, and from the second half kick-off. This was where our mistakes started; our physicality was also not up to scratch. In reality we really needed to win this game, but didn’t. We also did not manage our ball retention properly when we had possession; and our defence was poor.
“Although we did get two points from this away game we should have won; but this season for us has been ‘would have’, ‘should have’ and ‘could have’,” the coach added.
“Part of our problems in the first half were the five penalties against us, the 14 missed tackles and our line-outs. We also did not dominate the set pieces as we would have liked to. We have spoken and discussed these problems and now we have to fix them.”
Engledow said that the loss would be put behind them as they prepare to host the Lions and the dangerous Pumas.
“We are excited about being home again, where we have two matches. This coming Friday, we take on the Lions, who narrowly beat the Pumas by a single point on Saturday. The Lions remain bottom of the log, one point behind us.
“Here (against the Lions) we will have to be more positive, as we will be focusing on a win by executing our game plan.
Engledow emphasised that the team’s goals have not changed, despite the number of losses to their account.
“We are a professional outfit and our goal is to end in the top four of the Currie Cup this season, but we will have to work hard at fixing our mistakes this week at practice,” he conceded.
Results from the other Currie Cup matches played over the weekend, were; Xerox Golden Lion 29-28 Steval Pumas; Cell C Sharks 45-15 Toyota Free State Cheetahs. DHL Western Province had a bye.