Griquas climbed to the top of the Currie Cup standings with a 37-15 win against the Blue Bulls in Pretoria.
The men from Kimberley punished a sloppy Bulls’ team to score four tries, which earned them a bonus point.
Griquas are now two points clear of the second-placed Golden Lions ahead of their final two games, which are both in Kimberley against Western Province and the Lions.
The Bulls opened the scoring in the fifth minute after Dylan Sage broke through the Griquas’ defence before his neat inside pass sent wing Rosko Specman into space to run in for the first try of the game.
Manie Libbok was successful with the conversion for a 7-0 lead.
Griquas then went down to 14 men after wing Ederies Arendse was given a yellow card for a deliberate knock-down
The Bulls extended their lead in the 15th minute with a penalty kick from Libbok before Griquas got their first points of the game.
Griquas centre Andre Swarts broke through the Bulls’ defence in the midfield and after a couple of passes the ball found its way to scrumhalf Zak Burger who ran in for the try. George Whitehead added the extra two points with the conversion.
Burger was in again in the 29th minute when Griquas exploited the Bulls’ weak defence on the blindside with some excellent passing to send Burger racing away for his second try of the game.
Whitehead was successful with the conversion again and Griquas had a four-point lead.
The men from Kimberley were causing all kinds of problems for the home side and the pressure resulted in a penalty in the 33rd minute which Whitehead converted into three points.
Griquas had the final say in the half with another successful penalty kick from Whitehead, which gave the visitors a 10-point lead at the break.
The Blue Bulls tested their opponents’ defence in the opening minutes of the second half, but they wasted several try-scoring opportunities.
Instead, Griquas got the opening points of the second half when wing Eduan Keyter stretched over for a try in the 51st minute after some more enterprising play by teammates in the backline. Whitehead added another two points with the conversion for a 17-point lead.
However, it did not take long for the Blue Bulls to hit back. After a line-out was set up in Griquas’ 22, the Bulls formed a powerful driving maul which sent Marco van Staden over the tryline in the 55th minute.
Both teams continued to throw the ball around with not much success. However, Griquas took the game by the scruff of the neck with another Whitehead penalty in the 68th minute, which gave them a commanding 15-point lead.
The Bulls nearly gave themselves a chance in the 71st minute when Rosko Specman was put into space down the touchline in the opposition’s 22. However, after getting easily to the tryline, the wing proceeded to put the ball down with one hand and shockingly he lost the ball forward.
Griquas then wrapped things up in the 77th minute when Victor Sekekete crashed over for his team’s fourth try of the game.
Man of the match: George Whitehead controlled things nicely from the flyhalf position for Griquas. The loose forwards also played a key role at the breakdowns. However, the award goes to scrumhalf Zak Burger for his excellent play from the base of the ruck and for scoring two tries as well.
For Blue Bulls:
Tries: Specman, Van Staden
Tries: Burger 2, Keyter, Sekekete
Cons: Whitehead 4
Pens: Whitehead 3
Yellow card: Ederies Arendse (Griquas, 12 – cynical play, deliberate knock-down)
Blue Bulls: 15 Divan Rossouw, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Dylan Sage, 12 Johnny Kotze, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Embrose Papier, 8 Tim Agaba, 7 Marco van Staden, 6 Ruan Steenkamp (captain), 5 Ruan Nortje, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Wiehahn Herbst, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Simphiwe Matanzima.
Replacements: 16 Johan Grobbelaar, 17 Dayan van der Westhuizen, 18 Conraad van Vuuren, 19 Adri Smit, 20 Wihan Vosloo, 21 Andre Warner, 22 Marnitz Boshoff, 23 Stedman Gans.
Griquas: 15 Anthony Volmink, 14 Ederies Arendse, 13 Michal Haznar, 12 Andre Swarts, 11 Eduan Keyter, 10 George Whitehead (captain), 9 Zak Burger, 8 Neill Jordaan, 7 Sias Koen, 6 Gideon van der Merwe, 5 Victor Sekekete, 4 Ian Groenewald, 3 Ewald van der Westhuizen, 2 AJ Le Roux, 1 Khwezi Mona.
Replacements: 16 Wilmar Arnoldi, 17 Mox Mxoli, 18 Johan Momsen, 19 Zandre Jordaan, 20 Chriswill September, 21 Chris Smit, 22 Bjorn Basson, 23 Ruan Kramer.
Referee: Divan Uys
Assistant referees: AJ Jacobs, Griffin Colby
TMO: Marius Jonker