Bulls scrape home against Griquas
Defending champions the Blue Bulls hung on to beat Griquas 39-38 (halftime 14-27) in their Currie Cup Premier Division match played at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Friday night.
Springbok winger Bjorn Basson’s third try on the final hooter brought the visitors to within one point of their hosts but flyhalf Naas Oliver's conversion, which would have given them victory, sailed wide.
It was a dramatic end to a pulsating match in which Griquas raced to a healthy half-time lead, only to watch as the Bulls produced a rearguard effort after the break that gave them the result.
In a match played out in front of 10 000 spectators on a cold night in the capital, Griquas opened up an early 10-0 lead thanks to Basson’s first try and a conversion and penalty from Olivier.
Bulls hooker and captain Derick Kuun struck back with a try after six minutes but Griquas, through wingers Richard Lawson and Basson scored 17 unanswered points to lead 27-7.
A NIGHT FOR WINGERS
Bulls veteran John Mametsa made it a night for the wingers when he ran in the first of his two scores just before the break to cut the deficit to 13 points and give his team some hope.
A try by prop Dean Greyling after the break, converted by flyhalf Jacques-Louis Potgieter, brought the Bulls to within three points before another penalty by Olivier kept them at arm’s length.
Potgieter kicked a 58th-minute penalty and Mametsa then scooted over for his second to suddenly give the Bulls the lead with 15 minutes remaining.
Olivier briefly restored the advantage before hooker Bandise Maku looked to have settled matters for the champions with his side’s fifth try eight minutes from time.
But the Bulls didn’t bank on the flying Basson, who sneaked in at the death to leave Olivier with the task of consigning the Bulls to their fourth defeat in seven matches and leave them in fifth place on the table going into the weekend.
But for once the flyhalf’s kicking boots deserted him, leaving the Loftus faithful to celebrate and Griquas to ponder just how they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.
Blue Bulls 39 – Tries: Derick Kuun, John Mametsa (2), Dean Greyling, Bandise Maku. Conversions: Jacques-Louis Potgieter (4). Penalties: Potgieter (2).
Griquas 38 – Tries: Bjorn Basson (3), Richard Lawson, Conversions: Naas Olivier (3). Penalties: Olivier (4).