The Blue Bulls got their Currie Cup campaign back on track with a hard fought 45-40 win over Griquas in a thrill-a-minute try-fest in Kimberley yesterday.
The men from Pretoria had arrived in the diamond rich town seeking victory at all costs if they were to stay alive in the competition after two successive losses and they were richly rewarded for their endeavour with seven tries.
But it was not all smooth sailing for the men in blue as the home side staged a dramatic comeback after having initially trailed 28-7 half an hour into the game with the Bulls scoring four tries in 20 minutes.
The tide turned for Griquas moments before the half-time interval when Andre Swarts cantered over for the hosts second try of the match before they were awarded a penalty try with the Bulls illegally collapsing the Griquas maul metres away from their try-line and on the cusp of the break.
Griquas began the second half with the same venom and intent with which they finished the first, and with a one man numerical advantage after Bulls wing Duncan Matthews was shown yellow, the hosts wasted no time in taking control of proceedings when flank Eital Bredenkamp scored to level the scoreline at 28 all.
With Griquas running riot, it was the Bulls whose discipline went out the window and on top of the several penalties for offside hooker Jaco Visagie was also handed a yellow card for a deliberate knock down with his team under unrelenting waves of attack.
The pressure eventually told and Griquas took to the lead for the first time in the game when Swarts crashed over for his second try of the match.
And with the writing on the wall of the consequences of yet another defeat, the Bulls were handed a lifeline with the yellow card to Griquas lock Pieter Jansen van Vuuren and they duly accepted it when replacement hooker Edgar Marutlulle was on the end of a well-executed rolling maul.
With only two points separating the two sides and the momentum having swung in favour of the visitors, Griquas seemingly could not take what they so easily dished out as they leaked two tries in just as many minutes to hand the game firmly into the hands of the Bulls.
Hard working Bulls flank Jano Venter ran in a well worked try from second phase ball before Springbok scrumhalf Ivan van Zyl scored from the resultant kick-off with the Bulls running from their own try-line with sleek interplay between the backs and forwards.
Griquas veteran AJ Coertzen crashed over for a consolation try for the home side and while they threw everything to steal victory at the death but it was not to be as they remain winless in the Currie Cup.
Griquas: (21) 40
Tries: Nicolaas Oosthuizen, Andre Swarts (2), Penalty try, Eital Bredenkamp, AJ Coertzen. Conversions: George Whitehead (4), Penalty try. Yellow card: Pieter Janse van Vuuren (54th minute)
Blue Bulls: (28) 45
Tries: Andre Warner, Franco Naude, Jaco Visagie, JT Jackson, Edgar Marutlulle, Jano Venter, Ivan van Zyl. Conversations: Manie Libbok (6). Yellow cards: Duncan Matthews (40th minute), Jaco Visagie (48th minute)