Kimberley - There may still be a tough road ahead, but the Blue Bulls are still in with a chance of reaching the semi-finals of the Currie Cup competition after beating Griquas 52-10 in Kimberley on Saturday.
The Pretoria-based side are fifth on the log, but only one point away from the Free State Cheetahs, who came up short against Western Province on Friday.
The Bulls would need to overcome the Sharks in their next match - a not-impossible task as coach Pine Pienaar and his side showed against Griquas, that they cannot be written off lightly.
“We are still in with a shout. I am very proud of the boys and the way they played against Griquas, especially in the second half,” Pienaar said.
“This victory gives us much-needed momentum before we take on the Sharks and helps keep that hope of playing in the semi-finals alive.”
Although it had no effect on the final outcome, Griquas dominated the scrums, which was an area of concern for the Bulls.
Prop Marcel van der Merwe was yellow-carded after Griquas were awarded a penalty try because the Bulls could not absorb the pressure during the scrums.
“The scrums are a real concern. We struggled all afternoon and Griquas put us under real pressure there,” the coach said.
“It is something we need to sort out this coming week, because we have another difficult outing against the Sharks and need to be at our very best.”
Leading 15-10 at half time, it was still anyone's game, but the Bulls came back out guns blazing and prevented the hosts from scoring a single point in the second stanza.
“The message at half time was simple. We needed to sharpen our discipline and look after the ball better.
“The guys bought into that and, in the end, it showed on the score board.”
Griquas were left with much to ponder, and particularly needed to question why they could not carry that advantage from the scrums over to other facets of their game plan.
The Kimberley side would now have to start planning for the looming promotion and relegation matches, which now seemed like a certainty.
“We are very disappointed. We did very well in the scrums but we couldn't use that momentum elsewhere on the field,” Griquas coach Pote Human said.
“We need to go back to the drawing board and figure out what went wrong. We play Free State at home next weekend and it is going to be another tough outing.” - Sapa