Blue Bulls end Griquas' winning run
August 15, 2009
Western Province lock Chris Jack wins a lineout during his side's victory over Boland in Wellington © Getty Images
The Blue Bulls brought the previously unbeaten Griquas back down to earth on Saturday with a narrow 25-24 bonus point victory in Kimberley.
The Griquas opened the scoring with a Naas Olivier penalty but the game swung the Blue Bulls way on the quarter hour when captain Derick Kuhn went over for a try after some good work from his forward pack. Francois Brummer missed the conversion and Olivier edged his side further ahead with his second penalty.
Brummer and Olivier exchanged further penalties before Egon Seconds extended the Griquas' lead with the home team's first try of the match courtesy of a Jonathan Mokuena cross kick. Olivier missed the conversion before the Bulls bounced back with a try from Francois Hougaard. Brummer again missed the conversion to ensure the Griquas entered the break with a 14-13 lead.
The Griquas continued to frustrate the Blue Bulls in the second half and cemented their lead with a try from replacement hooker Rayno Barnes after a clearance from Hougaard was charged down.
The hosts took a firm grip on the game when winger Trompie Nontshinga took his side out to an 11-point lead but back came the visitors with a try from Gerhard van den Heever.
Further pressure led to yellow cards for Griquas duo Rohan Kitshoff and Mokuena and Pedrie Wannenburg capitalised by forcing his way over for the bonus point try. Replacement fly-half Burton Francis converted to set the seal on a remarkable comeback victory.
The second-placed Sharks took advantage to close the gap on their title rivals to just two points thanks to a 30-19 victory over the Golden Lions at Ellis Park in Johannesburg.
The home side dominated the territorial battle for much of the game but were unable to capitalise in the face of a well-disciplined defensive display from the Sharks who made their hosts pay for their shortcomings. The Sharks built a 17-0 half-time lead against the run of play thanks to tries from Ryan Kankowski and Craig Burden and seven points from the boot of Monty Dumond.
The Lions maintained their work rate after the break but still lacked a clinical edge and as a result they fell further behind with Dumond adding two more penalties. But to their credit they refused to accept defeat and rallied once more as the game entered the final quarter.
Tries from captain Cobus Grobbelaar and Derick Minnie and a conversion from Ruan Boshoff added some respectability to the scoreboard but their hopes of a bonus point were dented when the Sharks were awarded a penalty try in the closing minutes.
The Lions had the final say with an intercept try for Pieter Engelbrecht but it was little consolation for his side having dominated proceedings.
Elsewhere, Western Province notched their fourth win of the season with a 38-7 victory over Boland in Wellington. The visitors battled to an 8-7 half-time lead before powering away after the break to secure a much-needed five-try bonus point victory.
Boland opened the scoring thanks to a penalty try midway through the half that also saw Province's New Zealand lock Chris Jack yellow carded. But Province rallied in his absence with an easy try for winger Gio Aplon and the lead was theirs following a penalty from fullback Joe Pietersen.
Province adopted an expansive game in the second period and a second Pietersen penalty was followed by a try from centre Juan de Jongh that his fullback also converted.
Winger Tonderai Chavhanga crossed for his side's third try just past the hour mark but they had to wait until the 76th minute for the all-important fourth score when prop Brok Harris barged over. And there was still time for 7s star Gio Apolon to set up team mate JJ Engelbrecht for the final try.
The latest round of kicked off with Cheetahs hammering the Leopards 71-17 at Olen Park in Potchefstroom on Friday night.
Free State ran their hosts ragged with a total of 11 tries to condemn them to a sixth straight defeat and such was their dominance that they had the bonus point secured midway through the first half. Wingers Jongi Nokwe and Danwel Demas, outside centre JW Jonker and lock Nico Breedt all grabbed two tries while scrum-half JP Joubert, flanker Johan Wessels and inside centre Robert Ebersohn also dotted down.
As a result the Cheetahs maintained their return to form after finally opening their account with an impressive victory over the Blue Bulls last week. As the score line suggests, the Cheetahs totally outplayed the Leopards with fly-half Jacques-Louis Potgieter pulling the strings and also claiming six conversions. Two more conversions came from the boot of fullback Louis Strydom.
The battling Leopards were rewarded for their efforts with two second half tries from fullback Russell Jeacocks with fly-half Clayton Durand converting both scores to add to a first half penalty.
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