Craven Week

Province see off lively Pumas

Mon, 08 Jul 2013 10:47
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Four tries from centre Daniel du Plessis saw Western Province secure a 40-24 victory over a lively Pumas side at Craven Week in Polokwane.

The teams scored three tries each in an entertaining first half, with Province taking a slender 19-17 lead into the break, but the Cape side had the better of a scrappy second half as the Pumas' challenge faded.

It did not take Province long to open the scoring, when a great inside ball from flyhalf Dennis Cox saw inside centre Du Plessis get over for the try which was converted by right wing Grant Hermanus.

However, the Pumas struck back immediately when right wing Odwa Nkunjana made the most of some space on the outside to sneak over in the right corner.

A loose ball in midfield gave Province their next opportunity, and they capitalised by swinging it out to left wing Dewald Naude who sped over for their second try which stretched their lead to 14-5.

The Pumas responded by surging into the opposition 22 where their powerful forwards were able to drive the Province defenders backwards, but a fumbled ball from Nkunjana with the line at his mercy saw Province escape.

Despite that setback they kept hammering away at the Province defence, and they were rewarded with a double strike which saw them snatch the lead.

The Pumas forwards built some momentum as they launched themselves at the opposition, and outside centre Mauro Bucuchane was on hand to sweep over for the try to reduce the gap to 14-12.

The team from Nelspruit kept the pressure on, and a great break and offload from captain and tighthead prop Conraad van Vuuren saw lock Thulane Mkhonto gallop over for their third try which gave them a surprise 17-14 advantage.

However, the Cape side would take a 19-17 lead into the half-time break thanks to a second try from Du Plessis who ran a great line to bust the Pumas' defence open, before showing good pace to finish the try.

The second half started in scrappy style, as both teams struggled to find the kind of momentum they had enjoyed in the opening 35 minutes.

Province came within inches of scoring their fourth try when replacement Heinrich Buhr was brought down just short after taking a well-timed pass from Du Plessis, but they showed good patience and eventually Du Plessis was able to go over for his hat-trick try.

Another good pass from Cox saw the big centre burst over for his third, and he did not have to wait long to make it four when he made the most of a Hermanus break on the hour mark to extend his team's lead to 33-17.

Pumas skipper Van Vuuren forced his way over for a well-deserved try in the final stages of the match, but Province would have the final say when Buhr crashed over to seal the 40-24 victory.

Man of the match: It is hard to look past the efforts of Springbok centre Michael du Plessis' son Daniel du Plessis who used his power and pace to score four tries in a dominant midfield performance.
          
The scorers:

For Western Province:
Tries:
Du Plessis 4, Naude, Buhr
Cons: Hermanus 5

For the Pumas:
Tries:
Nkunjana, Bucuchane, Mkhonto, Van Vuuren
Cons: Gouws 2

Teams:

Western Province: 15 Khanyo Ngcukana, 14 Grant Hermanus, 13 Jarryd Sage, 12 Daniel du Plessis, 11 Dewald Naude, 10 Dennis Cox, 9 Damian Stevens, 8 Petrus Bothma, 7 Johannes Vermeulen, 6 Saud Abrahams, 5 Johannes Momsen, 4 Cornelis van Niekerk, 3 Brett Paulse, 2 Rudolf Brits, 1 Gavin van den Berg.
Replacements: 16 Daniel du Plessis, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 Francois van der Merwe, 19 Charlton Jonas, 20 Herschel Jantjies, 21 Siyamthanda Alam, 22 Heinrich Buhr.
    
Pumas: 15 Johannes du Plooy, 14 Odwa Nkunjana, 13 Mauro Bucuchane, 12 Helgaard Viljoen, 11 Abednigo Mashabane, 10 Brandon Thomson, 9 Rowan Gouws, 8 Menzi Nhlabathi, 7 Daniel Maartens, 6 Willandre Kotzenberg, 5 Michael Basson, 4 Thulane Mkhonto, 3 Conraad van Vuuren, 2 Michael Vosloo, 1 Jon-Pierre Herbst.
Replacements: 16 Cauwen Mashaba, 17 Bhekisa Shongwe, 18 Christopher van Leeuwen, 19 Tristan Jooste, 20 Christiaan Erasmus, 21 Lindelwe Zungu, 22 Mzwakhe Fransman.

Referee: Jaco Kotze
Assistant referees: Archie Sehlako, Local

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