WP pip plucky Pumas
REPORT: Western Province were made to work hard for their 31-23 bonus point victory over the Pumas at Newlands on Saturday.
The Pumas put up a brave fight throughout the encounter, displaying plenty f courage on defence to deny numerous WP attacks. Their efforts were rewarded in the closing stages of the encounter when they bagged two late tries, however, it proved too little too late.
The bonus point victory ensured WP kept themselves in the running for a playoff spot.
The visitors took the game to the home side in the early minutes and camped inside WP's 22. Flyhalf Francois Brummer got his team on the board in the third minute when he calmly slotted over a drop goal.
WP settled from that point and went in search of as many points as possible by opting for line-outs instead of taking the points on offer with easily kickable penalties. However, the Pumas stood firm in defence to deny the home side on numerous occasions.
The pressure remained and after a few more failed attempts at getting over the try line, WP opted to have a shot at goal in the 18th minute when the Pumas infringed inside their 22. Robert du Preez popped the effort over to draw his side level.
The Pumas' defence was finally breached in the 20th minute when Nizaam Carr pealed off the back of a scrum and handed the ball to Huw Jones. The Scotland international set off on a weaving run that sliced through the Pumas' defence before passing to Werner Kok, who sprinted down the touchline to score.
Du Preez added the extras to ensure a 10-3 lead.
The match remained evenly poised from that point as the side's wrestled for dominance. It would be the visitors who were next on the board though through a Brummer penalty in the 34th minute after WP were penalised at the breakdown.
The home side looked to grab a late try in the final play of the half, however, it was not meant to be as they held their four-point lead at the break.
WP took the game to the Pumas at the start of the second half and, as was the case in the first half, were unable to convert the pressure into points. After soaking up the pressure, the Pumas were reduced to 14 men in the 49th minute when replacement De-Jay Terblanche was sent to the sin bin.
The home side failed to make the most of their numerical advantage before finding themselves being reduced to 14 men in the 51st minute when Stefan Willemse was shown yellow for a dangerous tackle.
WP continued to search for tries and eventually found their second of the match in the 55th minute through a brilliant individual effort by Jones. The centre received the ball close to the touchline just inside the Pumas' half and set off on a run that displayed his speed and stepping ability.
He got over under the posts to ensure an easy conversion for Du Preez. WP now led 17-6.
That lead was cut to six points a minute later when the Pumas finally broke through WP's defence. A simple move that saw the backline transfer the ball from one side of the field to the other found Devon Williams, who drew the last defender before passing to JP Lewis - who got over in the corner.
Brummer failed with the extras though as the Pumas trailed 11-17 after 59 minutes.
WP managed to stretch their lead in the 68th minute when, after sustained pressure, Leolin Zas managed to snipe around the fringes to grab his side's third score. Du Preez made no mistake with the extras to ensure a 24-11 lead.
The home side were in the ascendancy at this point and secured the vital bonus point in the 70th minute when Jan de Klerk used his strength to get over the try line after a brilliant run by Kok down the touchline. Du Preez maintained his 100 percent kicking record with his fourth conversion to stretch the lead to 31-11.
The Pumas finished the game strongly and bagged two tries in the closing minutes to bring some respectability to the scoreline. Tyler Fischer rounded off a well-worked team effort in the 73rd minute, which Devon Williams converted, before captain Renaldo Bothma used his massive frame to bulldoze his way over in the 78th minute.
Williams failed to add the extras, which would have handed his team a losing bonus point.
Man of the match: It would not be wise to single out any individual in the Pumas team but rather commend all of them for their brilliance on defence in keeping WP at bay for long periods of the encounter. Alistair Vermaak had a strong day at the office while Nizaam Carr will be pleased with his performance in his first game back. Cheslin Kolbe looked to spark things with a number of carries but was let down by some questionable decision making. Our award goes to the dynamic Huw Jones whose speed and elusive running carved the Pumas' defence open on numerous occasions.
For Western Province:
Tries: Kok, Jones, Zas, de Klerk
Cons: du Preez 4
Pen: du Preez
For the Pumas:
Tries: Lewis, Fischer, Bothma
Yellow cards: De-Jay Terblanche (Pumas, repeated infringements - not rolling away, 48); Stefan Willemse (WP, dangerous play - high tackle, 51)
Western Province: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Werner Kok, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Huw Jones, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Godlen Masimla, 8 Kobus van Dyk, 7 Stefan Willemse, 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Chris van Zyl (captain), 4 Jan de Klerk, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Mike Willemse, 1 Alistair Vermaak.
Replacements: 16 Neil Rautenbach, 17 Sithembiso Sithole, 18 JP Smith, 19 Jurie van Vuuren, 20 Jacques Vermeulen, 21 Dewaldt Duvenage, 22 Scott van Breda.
Pumas: 15 Devon Williams, 14 Ruwellyn Isbell, 13 Hoffman Maritz, 12 Hennie Skorbinski, 11 Jean-Paul Lewis, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Emile Temperman, 8 Renaldo Bothma (captain), 7 Lambert Groenewald, 6 Brian Shabangu, 5 Jannie Stander, 4 Stephan Greeff, 3 Louis Albertse, 2 Frank Herne, 1 Khwezi Mona.
Replacements: 16 Simon Westraadt, 17 De-Jay Terblanche, 18 Hugo Kloppers, 19 Carel Greeff, 20 Kevin Luiters, 21 Heinrich Steyl, 22 Tyler Fischer.
Referee: Alexandre Ruiz (France)
Assistant referees: Rasta Rasivhenge, Francois Pretorius
TMO: Shaun Veldsman