Viljoen steers Griquas to semis
Craig Ray
April 25, 2009
Stand-in flyhalf Riaan Viljoen scored 15 points to guide GWK Griquas to the semifinals of the Vodacom Cup with a tense 30-25 (halftime 17-3) win over neighbours Free State in Kimberley on Saturday.

Despite losing chief points scorer Naas Olivier to the Cheetahs’ Super 14 team, Griquas still had too much firepower for their more-fancied opponents and deservedly booked their place against the Sharks XV next week.

Olivier has scored 125 points in 2009 and there were some rumblings that he’d only be called into the Super 14 side essentially to take him out of this encounter, but Viljoen stepped up admirably.

He landed three conversions and two penalties as well as an 80th-minute drop-goal to put the outcome beyond doubt and keep Griquas on course for the R1-million first prize.

The opening 15 minutes saw the game fluctuate between the opposing 22-metre areas before Griquas wing Egon Seconds broke the deadlock with the first try of the match. Free State troubled the scorers when flyhalf Jandre Blom landed a 23rd-minute penalty.

Six minutes before the break Griquas wing Bjorn Basson scored the home team’s second try and with the conversion and a 40th-minute Viljoen penalty, gave them a healthy 14-point lead at the break.

But it was a different Free State that emerged after the interval and they immediately upped the tempo and put Griquas under pressure.

The visitors scored three tries in the space of 15 minutes, through number eight Schalk van der Merwe, centre JW Jonker and flank Francois Uys to move into the lead.

But a second Viljoen penalty and a late try from Second -- his second of the match -- put the home side in the lead before Viljoen landed a drop-goal.


Griquas - Tries: Egon Seconds (2), Bjorn Basson. Conversions: Riaan Viljoen (3). Penalties: Viljoen (2). Drop-goal: Viljoen.

Free State - Tries: Schalk van der Merwe, JW Jonker, Francois Uys. Conversions: Sias Ebersohn (2). Penalties: Jandre Blom (2).

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