Connect with us

Rugby

Best Bulls v Glasgow Warriors: Stellar Grobbelaar The Standout

Johan Grobbelaar did his Springbok ambitions the world of good on a night that started as a fairy tale but ended up a nightmare for the Bulls as they succumbed 21-16 to the Glasgow Warriors in the grand final of the United Rugby Championship at a jam-packed Loftus Versfeld.

Bulls

Johan Grobbelaar did his Springbok ambitions the world of good on a night that started as a fairy tale but ended up a nightmare for the Bulls as they succumbed 21-16 to the Glasgow Warriors in the grand final of the United Rugby Championship at a jam-packed Loftus Versfeld on Saturday, writes Quintin van Jaarsveld.

Jake White’s charges were composed and clinical out of the shoot and raced into a 13-point lead, which was reduced to 13-7 going into halftime.

However, the wheels came off in the second half as gritty Glasgow took over, winning the collisions and being more accurate without slowing down at altitude to clinch the crown in stunning fashion.

Our top three Bulls standouts were:

Johan Grobbelaar

Having featured in previous Springbok alignment camps, Grobbelaar would’ve wanted to send Rassie Erasmus a message and he did just that.

The 26-year-old got through a mountain of work, was sensational on the ground and clinical in the set pieces. Bulls’ fans will remember his Man of the Match performance in the famous 27-26 semi-final win over Leinster in Dublin two years ago and this effort in the decider proved he’s a man for the big occasion.

He produced two crucial jackals, the first moments after he’d made a try-saving tackle on Warriors captain Kyle Steyn, and the second on his 5m line in the 45th minute and showed good physicality when he drove back Zander Fagerson with a double leg tackle.

White probably thought twice about replacing him with Akker van der Merwe early in the second round, a rotation that’s worked well all season, but pulled the trigger in the 50th minute. At that stage, the Bulls were still in the ascendency and Grobbelaar left as the hosts’ top tacker with 14.

Marco van Staden

Van Staden brought the intensity, desire and mongrel you’d expect from a player of his international calibre.

“Eskom” lit up Loftus with his complete commitment to rumble over for the opening try and carried hard all evening, pumping his legs through contact to make a joint-match-high nine successful carries along with Jack Dempsey. His power and dogged determination also saw him beat a Bulls-best four defenders.

Like Grobbelaar, he came up clutch on the ground, winning a turnover on his 5m in the 33rd minute and latching onto the ball to win a penalty with six minutes to go, only for Johan Goosen to make a massive blunder by inexplicably kicking the ball dead.     

Wilco Louw

Louw followed up his commanding semi-final performance with another colossal shift that’ll give Erasmus food for though.

The 138kg brute was worth his weight in gold in all facets of play; he won two scrum penalties, looked to have powered over for a try but was denied as the TMO could find no clear grounding and he showcased his impressive motor and mobility, surpassing Grobbelaar by making a team-high 18 tackles.

Quintin Van Jaarsveld is a former MDDA-Sanlam SA Local Sports Journalist of the Year and a former three-time Vodacom KwaZulu-Natal Sports Journalist of the Year. Formerly the sports editor and Outstanding Journalist of the Year award winner at The Fever Media Group, deputy editor at eHowzit, editor at SARugby.com and senior staff writer at Rugby365.com, he boasts over 15 years’ experience and is currently a freelance sports writer.

More in Rugby