The Pumas recorded their first victory of the season when they beat the Eastern Province Kings 38-30 in their Currie Cup fixture at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Friday.
An inspired second-half performance, spearheaded by hooker Frank Herne, helped the visitors overturn an eight-point deficit in the dramatic second stanza.
Herne, who crossed the whitewash three times, also scored the try that helped the Pumas establish the crucial lead towards the business end of the fixture – reducing the deficit to just one with moments to play.
Pumas full-back Devon Williams, who took over the kicking duties at that stage of the fixture, converted the try to put the Pumas one point ahead.
Left wing Jean-Paul Lewis then hit the final nail into the Kings coffin with a converted try just moments later, stretching the lead to 38-30 with just four minutes remaining in the fixture. At this juncture, the writing was well and truly on the wall for the home team.
The match will go down as an opportunity lost for the Eastern Province outfit, who not only established the early lead in the fixture, but went into the half-time intermission with a 20-19 advantage, thanks in part to the meaningful contribution from fly-half Pieter-Steyn de Wet. De Wet went on to score 20 points, 15 of them from the boot.
The Kings had an opportunity to assert their authority early in the second-half, following the yellow card received by Pumas flank Carel Greeff. While captain Ricky Schroeder did score a try that stretched the lead to 27-19, the Kings just didn't possess the physical and mental stamina required to close this fixture out.
The Pumas sensed distress and they ultimately exploited the opening that was presented to win the game.
For Eastern Province Kings:
Tries: Tromp, Schroeder, De Wet
Cons: De Wet 3
Pens: De Wet 3
Tries: Shabangu, Herne (3), Luiters, Lewis
Cons: Steyl 2, Williams 2
Yellow Cards: Brown, Greeff
Eastern Province Kings: 15 Johan Tromp, 14 Siviwe Soyizwapi, 13 Berton Klaasen, 12 Waylon Murray, 11 Sampie Mastriet, 10 Pieter-Steyn de Wet, 9 Ricky Schroeder (c), 8 Christiaan de Bruin, 7 Sebastian Ferreira, 6 Brandon Brown, 5 Dylan Pieterse, 4 Tazz Fuzani, 3 Vukile Sofisa, 2 Martin Bezuidenhout, 1 Barend Potgieter
Replacements: 16 Warrick Venter, 17 Pieter Stemmet, 18 Etienne Oosthuizen, 19 Luke van der Smit, 20 Cullen Callopy, 21 Vian van der Watt, 22 Lungelo Gosa
Pumas: 15 Devon Williams, 14 Tyler Fisher, 13 Hoffman Maritz, 12 Leighton van Wyk, 11 Jean-Paul Lewis, 10 Heinrich Steyl, 9 Emile Temperman, 8 Renaldo Bothma (c), 7 Carel Greeff, 6 Brian Shabangu, 5 Jannie Stander, 4 Jeremy Jordaan, 3 Louis Albertse, 2 Frank Herne, 1 De Jay Terblanche
Replacements: 16 Simon Westraadt, 17 Marne Coetzee, 18 Hugo Kloppers, 19 Reuben Johannes, 20 Kevin Luiters, 21 Deon Helberg, 22 Ruwellyn Isbell
Referee: Quinton Immelman
Assistant Referees: Rodney Boneparte, Christie du Preez