World News – AU – Steyn plays as late rally picks up hard-earned Bulls victory


A solid finish saw the Bulls beat the Griquas 30-23 in Pretoria on Saturday on Matchday 2 of South African Super Rugby Unlocked after a suddenly close match

The Bulls have been among the ‘big four’ of South African rugby along with the Lions, Sharks and Stormers for decades, while the Griquas’ only major trophy came 50 years ago

But it took the hosts 63 minutes to move forward, thanks to a penalty from 36-year-old former South African half-butterfly Morne Steyn behind closed doors at Loftus Versfeld due to the coronavirus

A try from substitute skipper and loose forward Arno Botha took the lead to nine points before the Griquas responded with a second try from winger James Verity-Amm

Steyn, whom new Bulls coach Jake White calls his « overall », had the final say with his penalty securing the Bulls victory but not preventing the Griquas from taking a losing bonus point

« I’m happy with the win, but not with the way we got it, » Botha, one of the many new signings made by 2007 Rugby World Cup winner White, said when  » he took orders last March

« We lacked discipline during the blackouts in the first half and we all have to watch a recording of this game and investigate where we didn’t execute the game plan properly

« Morne’s (Steyn) experience was a key factor for us and I don’t think this guy ever gets old »

Returning to Pretoria after six years with the French Top 14 at Stade Français, Steyn contributed 13 points in two conversions and three penalties after missing his first shot on goal

Griquas captain and fly half George Whitehead also highlighted indiscipline and was self-critical after being sentenced to foul after 53 minutes

“Getting a yellow card was unacceptable,” he admitted “One of my jobs as captain is to set a good example for my teammates and I clearly failed

« No one gave us a chance before the game and I’m proud that we led the Bulls closely. Our goal is to participate in this competition, not just to participate »

Besides Steyn’s insight, the Bulls were indebted to their melee, which made life increasingly uncomfortable for the Griquas

Northern Cape Town team Kimberley built a 10-point lead just to concede extra time to try to lock down Ruan Nortje and get back to the level at 10-10

An Anthony Volmink try helped the Underdogs lead 18-10 before a penalty try triggered a Bulls comeback that gave them a win they just deserved

Meanwhile, Malcolm Jaer scored three tries and compatriot Rosco Specman two as the Cheetahs claimed a 53-31 win over the Pumas at Bloemfontein

In a two-half game, the home side averaged one point per minute in the first to lead 41-3 at the break against overwhelmed opponents

But Mbombela’s (formerly Nelspruit) side were much more competitive after a half-time lick from coach Jimmy Stonehouse

The Pumas outscored the Cheetahs by four two-downs in the second half, with the home side temporarily crippled by the sin of replacement hooker Louis van der Westhuizen

A clearer picture of the capabilities of a side of the Cheetahs skipped by former Springbok Utilities full-back Ruan Pienaar is expected to appear next weekend when the Bulls host

The Sharks edged the Lions 19-16 in Durban in the opener on Friday, and the Springbok-stacked Stormers had a bye

Bulls, Griquas, Super Rugby, Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Jake White, Morné Steyn, Cheetahs, South African national rugby union team

World news – UA – Steyn plays the lead role as a late rally takes the Bulls hard-earned victory


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