The Blue Bulls battled to a nailbiting 16-12 win over the Pumas in their Currie Cup clash at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on Friday.
A drop-goal in the dying minutes by replacement fly-half Louis Fouché sealed the win for the visitors, who had 10 Springboks in their starting line-up.
The Pumas held their own in most facets of play, and were kept in the match by the accurate boot of their fly-half Ricardo Croy, who kicked four penalties for the home side.
The first half was a scrappy affair, especially the opening quarter when both teams were guilty off kicking away possession, needlessly.
However, the match came alive in the 16th minute when the Bulls opened the scoring through a well taken try by Springbok wing Bjorn Basson.
After receiving the ball from debutant scrum-half Jano Vermaak, just inside the Pumas' quarter, Basson burst through a tackle by Croy before touching down.
The Bulls' pivot Marnitz Boshoff slotted the conversion, and he put his team further in the lead with a well-taken penalty in the 24th minute to give his team a 10-0 lead at the break.
Vermaak thought he had extended the Pretoria-based side's lead when he crossed over in the corner in the 45th minute.
However, Australian referee Andrew Lees ruled that the final pass, from Akona Ndungane, went forward.
The Pumas came back strongly in the second half and dominated proceedings for large parts of this period.
Their heavy set of forwards gave their more fancied opponents a good workout, especially in the set-phases.
The Bulls allowed the Pumas to get back into the game by conceding several penalties, and when it was within goalkicking range, Croy did not hesitate to take a shot at goal.
With the score at 13-12 in the 70th minute, Croy had a chance to put his team into the lead. However, his attempted drop-goal sailed just wide of the upright.
During the last 10 minutes the Pumas still went in search of the win, before Fouché's heroics in the 78th minute won the match for the visitors.
Pens: Croy 4
For Blue Bulls:
Pens: Boshoff 2
Pumas: 15 Carl Bezuidenhout, 14 Deon Scholtz, 13 JW Jonker, 12 Tian Meyer, 11 MJ Mentz, 10 Ricardo Croy, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Christo le Roux, 7 Jaco Bouwer, 6 Corne Steenkamp (c), 5 Marius Coetzer, 4 Eduan van der Walt, 3 Ashley Buys, 2 Marthinus van der Westhuizen, 1 Dawie Steyn
Replacements: 16 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 17 De-Jay Terblanche, 18 Rudi Mathee, 19 RW Kember, 20 Hendrik van der Nest, 21 Tiaan Marx, 22 Johan Jackson.
Blue Bulls: 15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 Zane Kirchner, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 CJ Stander, 7 Dewald Potgieter (c), 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Juandré Kruger, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Dean Greyling.
Replacements: 16 Gary Botha, 17 Rossouw de Klerk, 18 Gerrit-Jan van Velze, 19 Arno Botha, 20 Dustin Jinka, 21 Louis Fouché, 22 Francois Venter.
Referee: Andrew Lees