Bulldogs break their duck
August 12, 2011
The Border Bulldogs earned their first Absa Currie Cup First Division win of the season on Friday night at East London's Buffalo City Stadium when they hung on to beat the visiting Griffons 26-21 (halftime 23-9).

The home side were full value for money for most of the first half. After 25 minutes they were 18-3 up following scintillating tries to flank Shane Spring and centre Luvoyo Mhlobiso, plus a conversion and penalty to flyhalf Dale Sabbagh and one to fullback Ntabeni Dukisa.

Mhlobiso's try was a beauty, with Spring and Byron McGuigan handling before McGuigan off-loaded following quick ruck ball.

The Griffons began to see more of the ball towards the end of the first half with flank Willie Britz prominent. They were rewarded via a second and third Tiaan van Wyk penalty, only to see the Bulldogs hit back with an unconverted try to replacement centre Chumani Booi following a Griffons defensive mistake to make it 23-9 at the break.

While the Bulldogs were playing with pace and passion and were quick on the counter, the Griffons looked disjointed in comparison and would clearly have to raise the bar in the next 40 minutes.

They did so well, with left wing Shane Hancke crossing the line, only to be called back for a forward pass.

However, it was solid Bulldogs defence and Griffons mistakes which prevented the visitors from maintaining momentum early in the second half despite sustained forward pressure.

Breaking the shackles, a breakaway run by captain and hooker Matthew Taljard finally had the Bulldogs in Griffons territory after 20 minutes, where a further Dukisa penalty had the home side 26-9 ahead.

But the Griffons refused to give up. As a result, the final 20 minutes were fast and furious, with the visitors doing most of the attacking and running penalty after penalty.

They were finally rewarded when Martin Sithole crashed over for a converted try to make it 26-16 with 12 minutes remaining -- and now the game was on.

It was nerve-wracking stuff, with the Griffons time and again nearly breaking through and the Bulldogs forced to hold on for dear life.

When the Griffons finally broke through in referee's optional time with a bullocking unconverted try to lock Joubert Horn, it unfortunately proved too late.

In the end it was hats off to both teams == the Bulldogs for their fanatical defence, and the Griffons for never giving up.


Bulldogs 26 – Tries: Shane Spring, Luvuyo Mhlobiso, Chumani Booi. Conversion: Dale Sabbagh. Penalties: Sabbagh, Ntabeni Dukisa.

Griffons 21 – Tries: Martin Sithole, Joubert Horn. Conversion: Tiaan van Wyk. Penalties: Van Wyk (3).

Report by Brian McLean


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