Pumas leave Griquas empty handed

Date published: August 22 2014

The Pumas secured their second win of the Currie Cup season on Friday, beating the Griquas 33-15 at Mbombela Stadium.

The Pumas shrugged-off a poor first half showing to bank a 32-15 bonus point victory over Griquas in their third round Currie Cup clash in Nelspruit on Friday.

Having struggled exit their own half for most of the match the men in pink left it to the last minute to score the fourth try through captain courageous Corne Steenkamp who played a crucial role in keeping the men from Kimberley winless this season.

To say it was a stop-start affair in the opening stages would be an understatement of note as neither side managed to gain any sort of rhythm, even though the visitors created several scoring opportunities.

Defensively the Pumas made some spectacular saves on the night, but they also enjoyed the rub of the green as far as penalties in their 22 was concerned.

An early long-range penalty by Pumas fly-half Justin van Staden gave the home side a 3-0 lead, but from that point onwards his team's main mission was to find ways to keep the visitors from scoring.

Had it not been for a few crucial fumbles, the Griquas could easily have taken the ascendency in the opening stages.

Their first chance to get on the board would set the tone for the first 40-minutes as Francois Brummer, playing at full-back as opposed to fly-half where he is usually stationed, missed a routine shot at goal.

For some strange reason the Pumas still failed to clear their lines and had to rely heavily Steenkamp and his loose-trio partner to turn the ball over when Griquas looked to be at their most dangerous.

Out of frustration Brummer later tried to level the scores with a dropgoal from the Pumas 10-metre-line, but that attempt came up short.

Having made a late change in personnel in Hilton Lobberts starting at lock in the place of Johan Adendorf, the Peacock Blues were equal to the physical challenge their host were always going to present.

As the match progressed, so did their ball retention, although their finishing left much to be desired.

Griquas open-side flanker Marnus Schoeman, who rose through the ranks playing for the Pumas, was on two occasions guilty of losing the ball in possession and on one of those he had an open try-line ahead of him.

With the half-hour mark approaching the visitors started making better use of their pack and gained more than 20 metres from their from their first rolling maul.

But again their finishing left much to desire.

Eventually the forwards took matters in their own hands and the Schoeman, who had earlier dropped the ball, scored the first try of the evening.

Brummer failed with the conversion which turned out to be crucial as Van Staden was quick to snatch the lead back for his team with another solid kick at goal.

Leading 6-5 the Pumas remained pinned in their own half and under immense pressure.

On one rare occasion they managed to catch the Griquas defenders off quart and from only their second visit to the opposing 22, wing Jerome Pretorius scored his team's first try of the evening.

It also marked the first time the evening that the home crowd had something to cheer about although those smiles would soon disappear as Varsity Cup sensation Dean Grant slipped through the Pumas midfield defence to give his side the lead when he converted his maiden Currie Cup try.

Trailing 15-16 at the interval the Pumas looked a new side as they took to the field and it was a matter of minutes before Pretorius went over for his second try of the evening.

Grant, having taken over the kicking duties from Brummer, kept his side close by slotting a penalty, but the men in pink then managed to give the visitors a taste of their own medicine as eighthman Renaldo Bothma peeled off a driving maul to score his team's third five-pointer in the 63nd minute.

Replacement JC Roos made no mistake with the conversion and suddenly Jimmy Stonehouse's were eight points clear.

Roos would nail another penalty to make the match safe before the captain ensured they would walk away with the full complement of points.

The scorers:

For Pumas:
Tries: Pretorius 2, Bothma,Steenkamp
Cons: Van Staden 2, Roos
Pens: Van Staden, Roos

For Griquas:
Tries: Schoeman, Grant
Con: Grant
Pen: Grant

Pumas: 15 Heinrich Steyl, 14 Ruwellyn Isbell, 13 JW Jonker, 12 Stefan Watermeyer, 11 Jerome Pretorius, 10 Justin van Staden, 9 Reynier van Rooyen, 8 Renaldo Bothma, 7 Uzair Cassiem, 6 Corne Steenkamp (capt), 5 Giant Mtyanda, 4 Frikkie Spies, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Francois du Toit, 1 Corne Fourie. Replacements: 16 Frankie Herne, 17 Dejay Terblanche, 18 Marius Coetzer, 19 Jaco Bouwer, 20 Dylan Frylinck, 21 JC Roos, 22 Rosko Specman.

Griquas: 15 Francois Brummer, 14 Ederies Arendse, 13 Jonathan Francke, 12 Wayne Stevens (capt), 11 PJ Vermeulen, 10 Dean Grant, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Carel Greeff, 7 Ruan Lerm, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Jaco Nepgen, 4 Hilton Lobberts, 3 Ewald van der Westhuizen, 2 Martin Bezuidenhout, 1 Steph Roberts. Replacements: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Maks van Dyk, 18 Hugo Kloppers, 19 RJ Liebenberg, 20 Abrie Griesel, 21 Doppies la Grange, 22 Niel Marais.

Venue: Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
Referee: Quinton Immelman
Assistant referees: Jaco van Heerden, Sieg van Staden
TMO: Johan Greeff

By Michael Mentz in Nelspruit