Griquas clinch Vodacom title at the death
May 04, 2007
A try by fullback Zane Kirchner two minutes after the siren sounded sensationally gave the Wildeklawer Griquas a third Vodacom Cup title with a 33-29 (half time 15-9) victory over the Vodacom Blue Bulls in a gripping cup final in Kimberley on Friday afternoon.

The Bulls were in touching distance of claiming the title having led the game throughout the second half following the first of their two tries scored by captain Dries Scholtz.

Griquas twice drew level in the final ten minutes but when Conrad Barnard failed to do it for a third time when his 79th-minute penalty hit the upright it appeared that the title was heading back to Pretoria for only the second time.

However, Griquas got their hands back on the ball and moved it through a succession of phases across the field before the pressure told and a gap opened large enough for Kirchner to squeeze into and breach. Barnard converted from the touchline - a far harder kick than the one that had struck the pole.

Up until Kirchner's try it appeared that the boot of Bulls flyhalf Jacques-Louis Potgieter would prove the difference between the two sides.

The former Bulls under-21 star kicked five of five shots at goal and added a drop goal with six minutes remaining to put his side into the lead for the fourth time in a match in which the teams were never separated by more than eight points.

By contrast opposite number Conrad Barnard missed three of his eight attempts at goal, while centre Danie de Beer had been short with a 55-metre effort in the first half - collectively leaving 11 points on the table.

That would have been harsh on Griquas who scored four tries to two and had established a 'yawning' lead of six points by the break.

Wing MJ Mentz snaffled a loose Blue Bulls pass on his own 22 to sprint 80 metres for the opening try and just before the break replacement hooker Dean Hopp was at the back of a driven lineout to score the second.

The Bulls hit back immediately with Scholtz getting the ball on the line after a succession of drives and quick recycles in the Griquas' 22 and then Trompie Nontshinga finished in the left hand corner after Frikkie Welsh had picked up on the right flank in his own 22 and set up Potgieter for a downfield dash. When the ball was recycled from under the Griquas' posts Nontshinga was in space to score.

That gave the Bulls an eight-point lead but man of the match Heinrich Stride - the Griquas No 8 - broke down the blindside of a five-metre scrum to put the game back in the melting pot with the teams exchanging four three-pointers before Kirchner's last-gasp try.


Griquas - Tries: MJ Mentz, Dean Hopp, Heinrich Stride, Zane Kirchner. Conversions: Conrad Barnard (2). Penalties: Barnard (3).

Blue Bulls - Tries: Dries Scholtz, Trompie Nontshinga. Conversions: Jacques-Louis Potgieter (2). Penalties: Potgieter (3), Ruan Boshoff. Drop goal: Potgieter.

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