Jacques Vermeulen and George Whitehead (Gallo Images)
Cape Town – Griquas have outplayed the defending champions Sharks in their opening Currie Cup match at Kings Park in Durban on Friday evening.
The Griquas won 37-13 after leading 10-6 at half-time.
The Griquas dotted down after just two minutes. Number eight Niel Jordaan intercepted and showed some good pace for a big man before being hauled down a couple of metres out. Scrum-half Zak Burger dummied before sniping over from close-range. George Whitehead added the extras.
The Griquas had a chance to extend their lead in the 13th minute but Whitehead dragged his penalty attempt after Jacques Vermeulen was penalised for not rolling away.
In the 24th minute, the visitors were penalised for not rolling away ten metres out before Sharks fly-half Curwin Bosch dinked the conversion over with ease.
Five minutes later, Bosch cut the deficit to just one after the Griquas went off their feet at ruck-time.
But Sharks fullback Aphelele Fassi gave away a penalty for holding on shortly before the interval before Whitehead did the rest to make it 10-6 as the sides went in to the break.
The away side scored their second try just a couple of minutes after the interval through Michal Haznar, with Whitehead adding the extras for a 17-6 lead.
Whitehead extended the lead in the 51st minute after the Sharks front-row collapsed to give away the penalty. Ten minutes later, the visitors’ fly-half added another three after number nine Burger was taken out at the ruck.
The hosts’ attack finally clicked in to gear in the 64th minute. Some deft touches by Rhyno Smith and Kobus van Wyk set JP Pietersen free who was tackled on the line before Cameron Wright picked the ball up from the ruck and dived over for the score. Bosch made no mistake with the conversion.
With ten minutes to go, the visitors launched a high bomb off the advantage before it was won back by Ederies Arendse in the home 22. They cross kicked again and it was carried back over by van Wyk, who was forced to kick clear.
From the resulting lineout, the Kimberley-based side set up the driving maul, with Wilmar Arnoldi dotting down at the back. Five minutes later, Arnoldi grabbed his brace in identical fashion, walking over at the back of another well-worked rolling maul for the bonus-point try as the Griquas capped off an impressive victory.
Try: Cameron Wright
Conversion: Curwin Bosch
Penalties: Bosch (2)
Tries: Zak Burger, Michal Haznar, Wilmar Arnoldi (2)
Conversions: George Whitehead (4)
Penalties: Whitehead (3)
15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 JP Pietersen, 12 Jeremy Ward (co-captain), 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Cameron Wright, 8 Tera Mtembu (co-captain), 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 6 Luke Stringer, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Juan Schoeman
Substitutes: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Mzamo Majola, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Gideon Koegelenberg, 20 Phendulani Buthelezi, 21 Sanele Nohamba, 22 Marius Louw, 23 Rhyno Smith
15 Anthony Volmink, 14 Ederies Arendse, 13 Michal Haznar, 12 Andre Swarts, 11 Enver Brandt, 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
Substitutes: 16 Wilmar Arnoldi, 17 Mox Moxili, 18 NJ Oosthuizen, 19 Johan Momsen, 20 Zandre Jordaan, 21 Chriswell September, 22 Tinus de Beer, 23 Eduan Keyter