Pumas down Griquas in gruelling encounter
CURRIE CUP REPORT: The Pumas were forced to dig deep in the second half to keep Griquas at bay to record a gruelling 27-21 victory in Kimberley on Sunday.
Griquas managed to keep the visitors scoreless for 37 second-half minutes as they clawed their back from a 10-24 half-time deficit to trail 18-24 in the 76th minute. However, a George Whitehead penalty sealed the victory for the visitors - their second of the campaign.
Despite the disappointing result, the home side managed to secure a losing bonus point.
The home side had the first meaningful attack of the game in the sixth minute when Wendal Wehr reacted quickest to a messy Pumas line-out. They immediately flung the ball the other way and found fullback Eric Zana in the attacking line.
He kicked ahead for Kyle Steyn to chase and the wing did just that and managed to dot the ball down, Unfortunately, replays showed that he had grounded the ball on the dead-ball line and the Pumas survived.
It became a territorial battle from that point as both sides looked to pin their opponents' in their half of the field. Once that settled, the teams switched tactics to run the ball. A quickly taken penalty by scrumhalf Stefan Ungerer go the visitors onto the front foot.
They kept the ball alive to find lock Stefan Willemse on the wing and he made a few metres. The recycled ball was handed to Francois Kleinhans, who charged for the try-line. He was brought down a few metres short before offloading to centre Jerome Pretorius, who cantered over. Justin van Staden popped over the conversion to hand his side a 7-0 lead after 13 minutes.
Back came Griquas though and Zana was once again vital in placing the Pumas under pressure. His grubber had Gerrit Smith scrambling to clean up and forced into taking the ball into his in-goal area. Griquas spread the ball from the resulting scrum and found Zana.
Under pressure, he managed to make space for himself before releasing Adriaan Coertzen down the touchline and the captain grabbed the home side's first try of the game. Andre Swarts added the conversion to level matters at 7-7 after 17 minutes.
The Pumas went on the attack immediately and worked their way over Griquas' try-line but the home side managed to hold their opponents up over the line. The Pumas maintained possession from the resulting scrum and set up a few phases before quick thinking by Chris Cloete saw the flank break around the fringe to grab his side's second try.
It was another easy conversion for Van Staden as he stretched his side's lead to 14-7 after 22 minutes.
The see-saw nature of the game continued as Griquas attacked. The Pumas were caught offside on their 22 and Swarts opted to have a shot at goal. The flyhalf made no mistake as he reduced the deficit to 10-14 after 26 minutes.
The Pumas remained calm as they went up field once again. They remained patient inside Griquas' 22 and after a number of phases, Kwezi Mona used his massive frame to power his way over. Van Staden maintained his 100 percent kicking record to ensure a 21-10 lead after 31 minutes.
It was all going the way of the Pumas as Van Staden extended his side's lead to 24-10 after 36 minutes when he popped over his first penalty of the game after Griquas were penalised at scrum time. The visitors looked for their bonus point in the final minutes of the half but failed to do so by the half-time interval.
The opening 15 minutes of the second half saw Griquas maintaining more possession but not troubling the scoreboard until the 58th minute when replacement Renier Botha got himself over the line when he received an offload from Zana, who got the move going with a blistering break.
Swarts failed with the conversion as the home side trailed 15-24.
Griquas cut into the Pumas' lead in the 69th minute when George Whitehead slotted a penalty to reduce the deficit to just six points as his side trailed 18-24.
The result was put to bed in the 77th minute when Van Staden slotted his second penalty of the game after Griquas was penalised inside their 22 for entering a ruck from the side. The successful kick ensured the visitors held a 27-18 lead.
George Whitehead brought the curtain down on the match when he slotted an 81st-minute penalty to ensure the home side bagged a bonus point.
Man of the match: For Griquas, Kyle Steyn and Adriaan Coertzen showed plenty of speed when they were let loose while Wendal Wehr put in the hard yards. Griquas' main threat came via fullback Eric Zana, whose grubber kicks placed the Pumas under all sorts of pressure while he racked up plenty of metres with numerous carries. Stefan Willemse got involved in nearly every phase of the Pumas' attack and kept the engine room going while Stefan Ungerer dictated play and had a sniping run or two. Even though he played just 52 minutes, the impact he had in that time saw him bag our award. Loose forward Chris Cloete was an absolute beast as he won turnovers and made metres with a few strong carries.
Tries: Coertzen, Botha
Pens: Swarts, Whitehead 2
For the Pumas:
Tries: Pretorius, Cloete, Mona
Cons: Van Staden 3
Pens: Van Staden 2
Griquas: 15 Eric Zana, 14 Kyle Steyn, 13 Tertius Kruger, 12 Johnathan Francke, 11 Adriaan Coertzen (captain), 10 Andre Swarts, 9 Christiaan Meyer, 8 Jonathan Janse Van Rensburg, 7 Sias Koen, 6 Wendal Wehr (captain), 5 Pieter Jansen Van Vuren, 4 Shaun McDonald, 3 Stephan Kotze, 2 Marius Fourie, 1 Devon Martinus.
Replacements: 16 Abraham le Roux, 17 Nicolaas Oosthuizen, 18 Jonathan Adendorf, 19 Kevin Kaba, 20 Renier Botha, 21 George Whitehead, 22 Koch Marx.
Pumas: 15 Gerrit Smith, 14 Jean-Paul Lewis, 13 Jerome Pretorius, 12 Hennie Skorbinski (captain), 11 Ruwellyn Isbell, 10 Justin van Staden, 9 Stefan Ungerer, 8 Francois Kleinhans, 7 Lambert Groenewald, 6 Chris Cloete, 5 Hugo Kloppers, 4 Stefan Willemse, 3 Pieter Scholtz, 2 Mark Pretorius, 1 Khwezi Mona.
Replacements: 16 Frank Herne, 17 De-Jay Terblanche, 18 Cameron Lindsay, 19 Thembelani Bholi, 20 Carel Greeff, 21 Reynier Van Rooyen, 22 Sias Ebersohn.
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant referees: Lourens van der Merwe, Mpho Matsaung
TMO: JJ Wagner