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Viljoen scores try and kicks GW to victory
Ken Borland
MWP
May 09, 2009
Riaan Viljoen kicked seven penalties plus scored a try which he converted to lead the GWK Griquas to a 28-19 (half-time 15-9) victory over the Blue Bulls in the Vodacom Cup final at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

The Bulls started strongly, with flyhalf Francois Brummer kicking two penalties and a drop goal to Viljoen's single penalty to lead 9-3 midway through the first half. But their hopes of snaring the R1 million prizemoney died in an awful spell in the last 10 minutes of the first half in which they conceded four penalties to Viljoen.

The Bulls were without yellow-carded centre Wayne Julies (ruck infringement) during this period, but acknowledgement needs to be made by the home side that their discipline simpy wasn't what it should have been for a final, and especially such a lucrative one at that.

Viljoen, a former Valke representative, produced a top-class kicking display when it really mattered, succeeding with eight of his nine kicks at goal - seven penalties and a conversion.

Brummer and Viljoen traded penalties in the first 20 minutes of the second half to make the score 18-12 to Griquas, but with three-quarters of the game gone, the final had hardly set tongues wagging. Both teams seemed distracted by the huge prize on offer and there was little discernible by way of definite game plans as the match degenerated into an error-strewn mess.

A vast proportion of the game took place between the two 22-metre lines, but the Bulls will be upset that they did not mount a thoroughly convincing defence of their title, especially after their top-class display in beating the Platinum Leopards 45-34 in last week's semi-final.

Griquas did prove themselves handy in playing the territorial kicking game, with Viljoen, scrumhalf Dougie Helmuth, centre Hanno Coetzee and fullback Gavin Passens adept at keeping the Bulls stuck in their own territory.

It was from a Passens kick into the corner that Griquas earned a lineout inside the Bulls' 22, leading to the try that changed the whole tone of the final.

The rolling maul has still not been replaced as an effective way of gaining ground after a lineout, and Griquas rumbled upfield before eighthman Sean Plaaitjies was ready to tear off the back, before passing to Viljoen, who gave Julies and scrumhalf JP Joubert the slip as he swivveled through their tackles and crossed the line.

Viljoen's conversion and a subsequent penalty took his and Griquas' tally to 28 and the rug had well and truly been pulled out from under the Bulls' feet.

The Bulls responded by keeping the ball in hand and eventually scored their only try when Brummer set off on a scything run from 40 metres out. He also converted the try to mean he, too, scored all his team's points.

Scorers

Vodacom Blue Bulls - Try: Francois Brummer. Conversion: Brummer. Penalties: Brummer (3). Drop goal - Brummer.

GWK Griquas - Try: Riaan Viljoen. Conversion: Viljoen. Penalties: Viljoen (7).

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