Griffons down Border in semis
Peter Martin
September 30, 2016

The Border Bulldogs lost 16-25 to a fired-up Down Touch Griffons at a cool Buffalo City Stadium in East London Friday in a rousing Currie Cup First Division semifinal.

Border hooker Mihlali Mpafi celebrated the occasion by running out for his 50th match for the Bulldogs.

With the high stakes of a place in the final, it was an extremely tough game.

However, at times both teams flattered to deceive, with frustrating knock-ons ruining what appeared to be promising moves while there were plenty of silly hand-to-hand passing which resulted in interceptions, particularly in the first 15 minutes as the teams settled down.

Only one try was scored in the first half with Griffons prop Danie van der Merwe crashing over the line with three or four Bulldogs hanging on grimly.

Other than that, the only scoring in the first half was through kicks, with Griffons flyhalf George Whitehead and Border fullback Masixole Banda putting over three each, while Whitehead, who missed nothing on the day, converted the try.

The half-time score was 16-9 in the visitors’ favour, but two early penalties to the assured Griffons flyhalf in the second half left the home team 13 points in arrears and not playing to their true potential.

However, midway through the second half, the Bulldogs were awakened from their slumber.

Left wing Makazola Mapimpi raced in for an excellent try which was converted by Banda and the crowd sensed a possible win as Border attacked relentlessly for the next 10 minutes.

And then with about 10 minutes left on the clock, Border were awarded a penalty well within range for a kick at the posts, but much to the disappointment of the crowd, the Bulldogs opted for a scrum and the Griffons were able to thwart the home team’s efforts to score.

With time running out play moved to the other end of the field where Whitehead kicked his sixth penalty some 40 metres out – the last score of the match.

For the faithful East London crowd, it was a disappointing end to one of Border’s best seasons and the experience gained by the young team will no doubt stand them in good stead for the 2017 season.


Border Bulldogs: Try: Left wing Makazola Mapimpi. Conversion: Fullback Masixole Banda. Penalties: Banda (3)

Griffons: Try: Prop Danie van der Merwe. Conversion: Flyhalf Geoge Whitehead. Penalties: Whitehead (6).


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