The Blue Bulls found their mojo as a hat-trick from full-back Manie Libbok secured the Blue Bulls a tight 44-42 win over the Griquas at Loftus Versveld on Friday.
It was all Blue Bulls for that first 50 minutes with the scoreboard kept ticking over but the Griquas came back and almost sneaked a win at the end.
The home side opened the scoring with an impressive converted try. A cross kick from fly-half Marnitz Boshoff was plucked out of the air by winger Rabs Maxwane who timed his run to perfection.
Boshoff also past his 1000 points in first class rugby with the conversion as he got his first start back at Loftus where it all begone for him a few years ago.
Griquas fired back with a converted try of their own courtesy of a great pick up and sprint by winger Ederies Arendse. The away side scored again soon after. Scrum-half Christiaan Meyer intercepted an attempted long pass and showed a clean pair of heels to dive in for his converted try.
The Blue Bulls pillar defence was again questionable and Griquas took full advantage of it.
Blue Bulls prop Dayan van der Westhuizen showed impressive strength and an eye for a gap to score the game’s next try. Boshoff converted to level up the scores yet again at 14-14. He followed this up with a penalty after 19 minutes to give his charges a slender lead.
Libbok showed unbelievable speed to score a solo converted try after collecting an up an under after 24 minutes but minutes later, Griquas backs down the right saw the ball land in Arendse’s hands yet again. He stepped hard off his right foot and scored a converted try.
Boshoff continued his fine kicking form with another critical penalty to take some pressure off of the home side.
Griquas hooker Wilmat Arnoldi was sin binned for a dangerous tackle but the home side didn’t capitalise on this.
Libbok stunned the Loftus faithful with another staggering solo effort. Starting from his own 22, he stepped and outpaced three Griquas defenders after just 40 seconds into the second 40 for a converted, bonus point try.
He gothis hat-trick a minute later with a well timed run onto a pop pass.
Griquas reserve forward Wandile Putuma scored a converted, bonus point try after a hard, low run towards the whitewash.
Adriaan Coertzen benefitted from an impressive long pass to score another converted try and reduce the home side’s lead to just six points with ten minutes remaining.
But reserve Blue Bulls fly-half Tony Jantjies landed a 79th minute penalty to end the Griquas hopes of a comeback, with Coertzen’s converted try after the final hooter a consolation in a 44-42 win for the Blue Bulls.
For Blue Bulls:
Tries: Maxwane, Van der Westhuizen, Libbok 3
Cons: Boshoff 5
Pens: Boshoff 2, Jantjies
Tries: Arendse 2, Meyer, Putuma, Coertzen 2
Cons: Swarts 3, Whitehead 3