Tian Schoeman scored 21 points as the Vodacom Blue Bulls recorded a 36-12 bonus-point victory against Griquas at Loftus on Friday. MARIETTE ADAMS reports.
In a proverbial game of two halves, the Bulls mounted a fine second-half comeback to secure a comfortable win.
In a scrappy first half, the hosts dominated territory and possession, but found themselves trailing 12-6 at the break, following two Griquas tries from Ruhan Nel and Ntabeni Dukisa.
The Bulls showed more intent on attack, but a litany of unforced errors, coupled with Griquas' dominant scrum, stifled their progress, and they could only manage two penalties from Schoeman.
It was a reformed Bulls side that took the field at the resumption.
Schoeman nailed two penalty goals to draw the teams level close to the hour mark, before the Bulls scored four tries, through Dayan van der Westhuizen, Francois Hougaard, Schoeman and Jamba Ulengo, to assert their dominance.
Griquas' resistance crumbled once the Bulls gained the ascendancy up front and they conceded 30 unanswered points in the second stanza.
Van der Westhuizen grabbed the Bulls' opening try when he sprinted 10m to score in the left-hand corner. It was followed up with a brilliant individual effort by Schoeman, who glided past three defenders to finish under the posts.
Hougaard scored next, his fourth try in two matches, before Ulengo ran in the sought after bonus-point try late in the match.
Blue Bulls – Tries: Dayan van der Westhuizen, Tian Schoeman, Francois Hougaard, Jamba Ulengo. Conversions: Schoeman (2). Penalties: Schoeman (4).
Griquas – Tries: Ruhan Nel, Ntabeni Dukisa. Conversion: Gouws Prinsloo.
Blue Bulls – 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 William Small-Smith, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Hanro Liebenberg, 7 Lappies Labuschagne (c), 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Jacques du Plessis, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Dean Greyling.
Subs: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Dayan van der Westhuizen, 18 RG Snyman, 19 Roelof Smit, 20 Ivan van Zyl, 21 Louis Fouche, 22 Dries Swanepoel.
Griquas – 15 Gouws Prinsloo, 14 Ruhan Nel, 13 Jonathan Francke, 12 Michael van der Spuy, 11 Ntabeni Dukisa, 10 Riaan Viljoen, 9 Tian Meyer (c), 8 Carel Greeff, 7 Hilton Lobberts, 6 RJ Liebenberg, 5 Hugo Kloppers, 4 Jonathan Adendorf, 3 Stephan Kotzé, 2 AJ le Roux, 1 Danie Mienie.
Subs: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Kop van der Westhuizen, 18 Jaco Nepgen, 19 Leon karemaker, 20 Poerie van Rooyen, 21 Clinton Swart, 22 Jacquin Jansen.
Photo: Anne Laing/HSM Images