Pumas stir up play-off race
CURRIE CUP MATCH REPORT: The Pumas stirred up the play-off race with a 22-12 win over Western Province in Nelspruit on Friday.
Not only did they outscore Province by three tries to two, but they moved into the top four - with just four points separating teams three to six on the standings.
WP looked to set for an easy win, as they dominated the opening quarter.
In fact the visitors held a 12-3 lead, but failed to score a single point in the last hour.
Not only did the Pumas dominate the collisions, especially in the second half, but Province's high error count certainly did not aid the visitors' cause.
The visitors made a determined start in the frantic opening phases and their patience was duly rewarded when lock John Schickerling went over for the opening try.
The hosts got on the scoreboard with a penalty from flyhalf Kobus Marais, but those were to be their only points of the first half as Province's defence held up well.
The second try came against the run of play - as Seabelo Senatla grabbed an intercept to race away and put his team 12-3 up after 20 minutes - which was also the half-time score.
The Pumas struck first in the second half as a Craig Barry clearance was charged down and pounced on by Pumas flyhalf Kobus Marais to reduce the WP lead to two points (10-12).
The home side hit the lead for the first time in the game in the 56th minute - as an extended period of pressure saw Frank Herne drive over to make it 17-12.
Province were struck a further blow when Jano Vermaak was shown a yellow card in the 64th minute for a dangerous spear tackle, leaving them a man down.
Wing Jerome Pretorius was next to score for the Pumas, giving his side a 10-point lead - which they retained until the final whistle.
Man of the match: Seabelo Senatla showed some sublime skills and John Schickerling was Western Province's nest forward. Kobus Marais directed the show and Justin van Staden was a rock at fullback. There are a few others, like Pumas prop Pieter Scholtz and loose forward Thembelani Bholi, but our award goes to Pumas replacement hooker Frank Herne for his immense workrate and crucial plats.
For the Pumas:
Tries: Marais, Herne, Pretorius
Cons: Marais 2
For Western Province:
Tries: Schickerling, Senatla
Yellow card: Jano Vermaak (Western Province, 64 - foul play, spear tackle)
Pumas: 15 Justin van Staden, 14 Jerome Pretorius, 13 Gerrit Smith, 12 Hennie Skorbinski (captain), 11 Ruwellyn Isbell, 10 Kobus Marais, 9 Stefan Ungerer, 8 Willie Engelbrecht, 7 Lambert Groenewald, 6 Thembelani Bholi, 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 Brian Shabangu, 20 Hilton Lobberts, 21 Reynier van Rooyen, 22 Selom Gavor.
Western Province: 15 Craig Barry, 14 Seabelo Senatla, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Huw Jones, 11 Ruhan Nel, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Cobus Wiese, 6 Jaco Coetzee, 5 John Schickerling, 4 Chris van Zyl (captain), 3 Michael Kumbirai, 2 Ramone Samuels, 1 Jacobus Janse van Rensburg.
Replacements: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Alistair Vermaak, 18 Caylib Oosthuizen, 19 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 20 Dewaldt Duvenage, 21 Robert du Preez, 22 Werner Kok.
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant referees: Ricus van der Hoven, Shemea Mushiribindi
TMO: Lesego Legoete