The Blue Bulls opened their 2012 Currie Cup account with a well earned 35-20 victory over Griquas at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Friday.
The hosts trailed by four points (13-9) at half-time, but launched a dominant second-half comeback spearheaded by Louis FouchÃ¨ - the Blue Bulls pivot contributing 25 points in all from the tee.
Former Blue Bulls fly-half Francois Brummer posted the first points on the board for the visitors with a simple penalty, before FouchÃ¨ leveled the scores in the eighth minute thanks to a three-pointer of his own.
Griquas showed they meant business when full-back Willie le Roux stepped his way past two defenders before ofloading to wing Rocco Jansen who dotted down against his former team. Brummer converted and the men from Kimberley were in a healthy seven-point (3-10) lead.
Le Roux then went from hero to zero a few minutes later after he tipped opposite number Jurgen Visser beyond the horizontal and earned himself a yellow card for his efforts.
Whilst Le Roux was in the bin, FouchÃ¨ narrowed the gap to a one-point ball game (9-10), but a cheeky drop goal from Brummer two minutes from half-time gave his team a slight upper hand at the break.
The Blue Bulls were a different kettle of fish in the second half, however, and hit the lead for the first time in the match when flank Arno Botha broke clear and put Akona Ndungane over for the try.
FouchÃ¨ added the conversion and two more penalties that stretched the Bulls' lead to nine points before a mini resurgence by Griquas brought them back into the game thanks to a converted try to lock Martin Muller.
That brought the visitors within two points of the Blue Bulls, but a Ruan Snyman try extend his team's lead once again and the hosts never looked back as Fouche nailed two more penalties to seal the deal.
For Blue Bulls:
Tries: Ndungane, Snyman
Cons: FouchÃ¨ 2
Pens: FouchÃ¨ 7
Tries: Jansen, Muller
Cons: Brummer 2
Blue Bulls: 15 JÃ¼rgen Visser, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 Ulrich Beyers, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Clayton Blommetjies, 10 Louis FouchÃ¨, 9 Ruan Snyman, 8 Dewald Potgieter (c), 7 Arno Botha, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Cornell Hess, 4 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 3 Frik Kirsten, 2 Willie Wepener, 1 Dawie Steyn.
Replacements: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 Werner Kruger, 18 Grant Hattingh, 19 CJ Stander, 20 Lohan Jacobs, 21 Lionel CronjÃ¨, 22 Jan Serfontein.
Griquas: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Luzuko Vulindlu, 13 JP Nel, 12 Stefan Watermeyer, 11 Rocco Jansen, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Jacques Coetzee, 8 Leon Karemaker, 7 Jonathan Adendorf, 6 Justin Downey, 5 Martin Muller, 4 Rynard 'Ligtoring' Landman, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Ryno Barnes, 1 Steph Roberts.
Replacements: 16 Matt Dobson, 17 Janro van Niekerk, 18 Frikkie Spies, 19 Jaco Nepgen, 20 21 Marnus Hugo, 22 Marnitz Boshoff, 22 Wilmaure Louw.
Referee: Rasta Rashivenga