Germany made the series five-all when they won the tenth Griffin Cup, defeating the Netherlands 29-24 at the sold out ground of the British School in Voorschoton. The visitors were excellent in the first forty minutes, building a 25-6 lead and just held on to thwart an Oranje fight back.
“Apart from the fact that we won, it was really pleasing to see the development that the domestic players have made since last year,” said president of Germany RL, Bob Doughton. “There are still a lot of areas to work on but I’m confident that our coaching staff will continue the great work we have all put in to improve them”
The Netherlands were first on the scoreboard, Arie-Tjerk Razoux Schultz powering through on eight minutes, Laury Renac adding the extras. But from then on, Germany dominated the first half, with Mawuli Améfia’s surging over and Ben White slicing through. An Adam Ryder double on the right edge increased the pressure on the home side, with Brad Billsborough on target with all four conversions and a drop-goal just before the interval.
Things looked ominous for the Netherlands when Germany scored first in the second half, Niklas Hartwich diving in the left corner to complete a flowing move, but the conversion was too far out for Billsborough to land.
Momentum shifted when Mike Prins intercepted to race in from 60 metres and Paul Kuijpers followed him over shortly afterwards, taking Paul Dirkzwager’s short ball and dancing around the defence to score at the side of the posts, Kees Kuijpers again adding the extras.
With five minutes to go, Gideon van Kleij crossed for the hosts in the right corner during which referee Misa Vakadranu deemed he had been fouled in the act of scoring, awarding a possible eight-point try.
Kees Kuijpers missed the conversion but scored the subsequent penalty in front of the posts, bringing the Netherlands to within one converted try of the visitors. The game finished with a flurry as Prins appeared to have grounded Schultz’s kick, potentially setting up a match winning conversion, but after deliberation the score was ruled out by the officials and the Griffin Cup changed hands.
“It was unfortunate not to get a result today but we can’t expect to win when we drop the amount of ball we did,” said Netherlands head coach, Dave Hunter. “The Germans outplayed us in the first half and were too strong through the middle. But to our credit we came out positively in the second and almost got the win. Despite losing the game, our domestic boys will gain a lot of confidence knowing they now compete with a number of players playing professionally overseas.”
Netherlands 24 : Hamish Wragg, Isaac Ngirubiu, Mike Prins, Gideon van Kleij, Arie-Tjerk Razoux Schultz, Laury Renac, Will Johnston, Mauricio Gomez Pazos, Paul Dirkzwager, Bonne Wilce, Paul Kuijpers, Kees Kuijpers, Frank Longhurst : Subs: Lucas Gout, Edson Neves, Romeo Goldman, Mark van den Broek. : Tries: Schultz (8), Prins (53) P. Kuijpers (57), van Kleij (75) : Goals: Renac 1/1, K. Kuijpers 3/4
Germany 29 : Aarre Heinrichsen, Benedikt Esser, Adam Ryder, Felix Rau, Niklas Hartwich, Ben White, Brad Billsborough, Jack Baskerville, Liam Doughton, Kilian Martin, Eoin Bowie, Christophe Ngondi, Mawuli Améfia Subs: Sebastian Paaßen, Charlie Tetley, Dany Doukeng Kongmo Ngo, Malte Rohrmoser : Tries: Améfia (10), White (14) Ryder (21, 38), Hartwich (50) : Goals: Billsborough 4/5 Drop Goal: Billsborough (40)
Half Time: 6-25 : Referee: Misa Vakadranu (Fiji)