Super Rugby

Bulls beat Griquas in Pretoria




The Bulls have won their opening game of a Super Rugby season in only two of their last seven campaigns after having won their first game of the year in the competition every season from 2008 to 2013.

The Bulls have won their last five Super Rugby games when hosting fellow South African opponents: their longest winning streak against their countrymen since a 10-game stretch from 2012 to 2014.

  • The Griquas are set to become the ninth South African team to contest a Super Rugby game; 12 of the 18 teams to have faced the Bulls in the competition have lost to the Pretoria side in their first-ever encounter.
  • The Griquas struck 87% of their total goal kicks successfully in the 2019 Currie Cup, the highest success rate of any team in the competition; on average they were the only team to miss fewer than one goal per game for the season.
  • Nizaam Carr (Bulls) has scored five of his last seven tries in Super Rugby against fellow South African teams; four of those tries were scored in home fixtures.

Match detail

We are waiting for the kick-off.

1.00: PEEEEP! We are underway in Pretoria.

3.00: Griquas giving away a lot of penalties inside their 22. The Bulls kick to the corner, twice.

4.00: Superb defending by the visitors, they hold the Bulls forwards at bay and win a scrum.

5.00: Penalty after the scrum goes to Griquas.

8.00: The visitors are giving a good account of themselves in the early stages. They are attacking inside the Bulls’ half and look good.

10.00: PENALTY! George Whitehead opens the scoring for Scott Mathie’s team. 0-3

12.00: Mox Mxoli and Stefan Willemse both concede penalties – Morne Steyn kicks to the corner for the third time.

13.00: Tim Agaba enters the ruck from the side and concedes the penalty. Whitehead clears.

15.00: Whitehead’s clearance is out on the full, it brings the play back to the visitors’ 22.

17.00: Both teams are playing in similar colour kits, and we’ve seen a few passes to the opposition because of it. Who decides this?

18.00: Another penalty, this time for the hosts. Steyn calls for the posts. This is a mini victory for Mathie’s men, who have been solid in defence.

18.00: MISS! Steyn with a rare miss from almost in front. 0-3

21.00: More superb defending from Harlon Klaasen. It leads to a Griquas penalty. Whitehead kicks to the 22.

23.00: Poor lineout by the visitors, the Bulls gather and counter-attack from deep; however, Gio Aplon can’t capitalise and the visitors win a penalty at the ruck.

24.00: Both teams have conceded five penalties in this tight contest. Griquas did well but lose possession after being held-up in the maul. Griquas come again, they are going through the phases.

26.00: TRY! James Verity-Amm scores after a well-worked attack by the visitors. Griquas went through the phases, punching up through the tight before spreading the ball to the winger. 0-8

27.00: CONVERSION! Whitehead slots the blindside conversion. 0-10

29.00: More ill-discipline by the Bulls allows Griquas to clear the danger. The lineouts have been messy but the Kimberly side retains possession on halfway and goes through the phases.

31.00: Griquas lock Ian Groenewald makes a high tackle on Marco van Staden: penalty to the Bulls, who kick to the corner.

33.00: Outstanding from HJ Luus, who steals the ball after an eight-phase attack. Whitehead clears to touch. Unreal line speed by Mathie’s cheaper, rusty team.

35.00: Jacques van Rooyen knocks on a simple catch – this is terrible by the Bulls, who lack composure after a good start.

38.00: PENALTY! Steyn finally gets his team on the board. 3-10

40.00: The Bulls win a penalty inside their 22, and Steyn kicks deep to set up one last attack.

41.00: The Bulls knock-on inside the opposition’s half. Scrum with 10 seconds to go.

42.00: Bulls win the loose ball from the scrum. Mathie will be raging at his men at halftime.

42.00: TRY! Ruan Nortje combines with Jason Jenkins as the hosts scored on the stroke of halftime. 8-10

43.00: CONVERSION! Steyn levels. 10-10

The halftime score was Bulls 10 Griquas 10

41.00: PEEEEP! We are back underway at Loftus.

42.00: Someone made some calls because the Bulls have changed their jersey to their away strip.

42.00: YELLOW CARD! Tim Agaba is sent to the bin for a cynical foul. Whitehead kicks to the corner.

44.00: Jenkins wins the turnover penalty, and the Bulls clear the danger.

45.00: TRY! Steyn’s crossfield kick leads to Anthony Volmink intercepting David Kriel’s nothing pass and races away to score next to the posts. 10-15

46.00: MISS! Whitehead doesn’t often miss these. 10-15

48.00: The Bulls’ handling has been poor, lots of misplaced passes and knock-ons as they try to spread the ball under pressure. Bulls win a penalty from a deliberate knock-down by Mxoli.

49.00: Steyn’s kick does not find touch, but the Bulls have possession again from the clearing kick.

50.00: PENALTY to the visitors at the ruck. It can be argued that Springboks World Cup-winning coach Jake White is being comprehensively out-coached by Scott Mathie and his rag-tag bunch.

51.00: PENALTY! Whitehead slots the long-distance penalty. 10-18

52.00: Volmink’s smart take leads to a Bulls penalty after his chip-and-chase is turned over. Steyn will kick to the corner.

53.00: YELLOW CARD! Whitehead is sent to the naughty step for not rolling away. 10-18

53.00: NO TRY! Daniel Kasende saves the day, holding up Van Staden over the line. 10-18

55.00: Bulls pack win a scrum-penalty; they will go again.

56.00: PENALTY TRY! The Bulls bulldoze a tiring Griquas pack. 17-18

58.00: Cornal Hendricks goes close but he is stripped on the try line. Scrum to the visitors, who are struggling, now.

60.00: Without Whitehead, Griquas are struggling to clear. Eventually, Zak Burger clears the danger. Mathie decides to change his props. Fresh legs in the forwards are going to be key if Griquas can get back to 15 men with a lead.

61.00: Another superb exhibition of tackling and holding up the ball-carrier. Scrum to the Kimberly men. Lizo Gqoboka limps off after just having come on. This could be huge for the underdogs.

63.00: PENALTY! Steyn puts the Bulls in front for the first time this evening. 20-18

67.00: TRY! Arno Botha scores under the sticks after a one-two with Marco van Staden. 25-18

68.00: CONVERSION! Steyn adds the extras. 27-18

71.00: TRY! Verity-Amm, hugging the touchline, grubbers the rolling ball and gives chase. He beats the Bulls’ cover defence, picks up the bouncing ball to score. 27-23

72.00: MISS! Oh, dear! Whitehead misses from the sideline. 27-23

74.00: An accidental offsides from the kick-off gifts Steyn a shot at goal.

74.00: PENALTY! Steyn extends the lead to seven. 30-23

77.00: The Bulls are trying to slow the game down, they look tired.

79.00: Time is running out for Griquas, they don’t have possession and the Bulls are milking the clock at the scrum.

80.00: The scrum collapses, and the Bulls can kick into touch and run out the clock.


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The final score is Bulls 30 (10) Griquas 23 (10)


Tries – Nortje, Penalty try, Botha
Pen – M. Steyn (3)
Con – M. Steyn (2)
Drop –
Cards – Agaba (Yellow, 42′)

Tries – Verity-Amm (2), Volmink
Pen – Whitehead (2)
Con – Whitehead
Drop –
Cards – Whitehead (Yellow 53′)

Match Officials
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant Ref 1: Aimee Barrett-Theron
Assistant Ref 2: Morne Ferreira
TMO: Cwengile Jadezweni



15 Gio Aplon, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Stedman Gans, 12 Cornal Hendricks, 11 David Kriel, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Tim Agaba, 7 Arno Botha (captain), 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Ruan Nortje, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Corniel Els, 1 Jacques van Rooyen

Replacements: 16 Johan Grobbelaar, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Mornay Smith, 19 Sintu Manjezi, 20 Elrigh Louw, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Chris Smith, 23 Marco Jansen van Vuren


15 Anthony Volmink, 14 Daniel Kasende, 13 Harlon Klaasen, 12 Andre Swarts, 11 James Verity-Amm, 10 George Whitehead (captain), 9 Zak Burger, 8 Niell Jordaan, 7 Stefan Willemse, 6 Carl Els, 5 Victor Sekekete, 4 Ian Groenewald, 3 John-Roy Jenkinson, 2 HJ Luus, 1 Mox Mxoli

Replacements: 16 Alandre van Rooyen, 17 Bandisa Ndlovu, 18 Madot Mabokela, 19 Adre Smith, 20 Zandre Jordaan, 21 Gideon van der Merwe, 22 Ashlon Davids, 23 Berton Klaasen, 24 Mzwanele Zito, 25 Johan Momsen, 26 Bjorn Basson

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