The Blue Bulls look on course to fight until the end for a home semifinal berth after they ran over Griquas 46-3 in their Currie Cup encounter at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday afternoon.
Griquas were first to score through the boot of flyhalf Conrad Barnard, who kicked over a penalty in the third minute. The Bulls’ response was almost immediate with Derick Hougaard levelling the scores in the sixth minute through a penalty.
The middle phase of the first half was untidy and unstructured as both packs of forwards tried to gain the ascendancy. It was the home side, though, who got the breakthrough in the 22nd minute when Jaco Engels barrowed his way past three Griquas players to score a converted try.
Five minutes before half-time, the Bulls established a 10-point lead when Hougaard kicked over a drop goal to give his team a 13-3 lead.
Two minutes into the second half, the Bulls further increased their lead and strangle hold on proceedings when flank Deon Stegmann scored a try from a driving maul. In the 47th minute, Hougaard picked up a stray Griquas pass to sprint half the field to score under the poles.
The Bulls gained their bonus point try in the 50th minute when JP Nel was the recipient of Wayne Julies’s hard work from deep in the Bulls half to take the Bulls to a commanding 34-3 lead.
In the latter stages of the match, the Bulls continued to apply pressure on the jaded Griquas and were rewarded with tries from John Mametsa in the 58th minute and Marius Delport in the 65th minute.
The win meant that the Bulls have all but secured a place in the semifinal, but they will have to win all their remaining matches of the season if they want to steal a home semifinal berth.
Province keep hopes alive
In Cape Town, Western Province kept their Currie Cup semifinal hopes alive when they thrashed the Boland Cavaliers 62-10 at Newlands, after leading 34-0 at half-time. Province were unstoppable from the kick-off and scored nine tries — their bonus-point try coming in the 33rd minute of the first half.
Boland, who came to Newlands eager for another top-class performance, were outplayed in all departments. They lacked fire, tackled shockingly for most of the time and threw away passes as if they were not interested to round off any movements.
For Province, their two wingers, Sireli Naqelevuki and Breyton Paulse, scored five of their team’s tries with the Fidjian Sevens star getting a hat-trick.
Province played in Boland’s half for most of the time and capitalised on numerous Boland mistakes. Enjoying every minute of the game was tighthead prop Brock Harris, who crossed the goal line twice after poor defence.
Boland lost fullback Justin Peach early in the match and he was replaced by Sevens Springbok Renfred Dazel. Then injury struck twice. In the 31st minute, Province scrumhalf Bolla Conradie was forced to leave the field, but his replacement, livewire Paul Delport, played well.
Just on half-time, Boland lost their hooker and captain Conrad Burke. He injured ligaments in his left knee after a brave tackle on Conrad Jantjes.Burke was replaced by Clement Lewis, who had a solid game. — Sapa