Griquas' second-half blitz dents Pumas
CURRIE CUP REPORT: Griquas second-half performance made sure the side record a narrow 38-35 win over the Pumas in Nelspruit on Saturday.
The Griquas, fresh from a 59-24 win over the Free State Cheetahs, were forced to overturn a 10-28 deficit at the break.
The win sees the Griquas bounced into the sixth place, while the Pumas' aspirations of slotting into the top four will have to wait another week when their take on the Blue Bulls at Loftus.
It was really a game of two halves. Both sides scored five tries a-piece but a penalty by George Whitehead proved to be the only difference on the scoreboard.
The hosts got off to a blistering start. From the kick-off, they won the ball and had possession inside the Griquas' 22. The Pumas produced relentless pick-up and drives and after several phases inside the red zone, No.8 Willie Engelbrecht powered his way over the line. Flyhalf Kobus Marais added the extras and the host went 7-0 up after just 3 minutes of play.
Minutes later Griquas point-machine, George Whitehead narrowed the deficit with a successful penalty kick after Brian Shabangy made a dangerous tackle inside his own 22, fortunately for the hosts the flank escaped with a stern warning as Quinton Immelman kept his yellow card safely in his pocket.
Engelbrecht bagged a brace of tries just after the 10th minute, scrumhalf Stefan Ungerer collected Marais' up and under and gave an inside ball to the No.8, who just had the line to beat.
Every time the Pumas broke into the Griquas' half their bagged points, and after just 20 minutes it was no different. From the line-out Janse van Rensburg bagged the five points form the back of the maul.
Griquas just could not recover and with the 30th minutes, appraching captain Hennie Skorbinski was on his way to try-line for the bonus-point, 28-3.
The Griquas finally broke the deadlock after great composure got the side inside the Pumas' half. Sias Koen's pass was collected by Wendel Wehr who wrestled his way through the defence for the try. Whitehead added the extras, to trail 10-28. at the break.
It seems the half-time talk did wonders for the visitors, because within a minute the centre Tertius Kruger dot down under posts after great work wide. Whitehead made sure they grabbed the much needed two points.
Kyle Steyn narrowed the lead to just four points with a converted try. The wing intercepted Ungerer's lob pass and outpace his defender to slide over the white chalk.
For a brief moment, it looked like the Pumas' had the win sealed. They returned back to their first-half technique and with a good driving maul replacements Frankie Herne went over the line for the try. Marais added the extras, 35-24.
Ederies Arendse soon got his seventh Currie Cup, which seems to have become a Griquas normality. The wing received a great offload from captain Andries Coetzee, who dummied two defenders to set up the try.
Engelbrecht almost had a hat-trick, but after desperate defending by Pumas forced a knock-on on the try-line.
With five minutes left on the clock, Griquas took the lead. Speedster Steyn turned on a razzle-dazzle and sidestepped his way past the defenders to set up Kruger for his second try of the match. Swarts, the replacement flyhalf, added the extras, 38-35.
Just two minutes left of the Clock, the basement dwellers produced scintillating rugby while the Pumas were left wondering in dismay. The Griquas had two penalties inside the Pumas' five and opted for the scrum on both occasions. They enjoyed possession inside the Pumas' red zone but a handling error halted the try-scoring opportunity and had to settle for the three-point winning margin.
Man of the match: Pumas No.8 Willie Engelbrecht was a handful and his brace of tries handed his side a great platform. Frankie Herne's robust performance proved to be vital for his side. Our nod goes to Griquas wing Kyle Steyn, the wing showed great tenacity on attack which set up centre Tertius Kruger' try and he got his name on the scoresheet as well.
Tries: Engelbrecht 2, Janse van Rensburg, Skorbinski, Herne
COns: Marais 5
Tries: Wehr, Kruger 2, Steyn, Arendse
Cons: Whitehead 4, Swarts
Pumas: 15 Justin van Staden, 14 Jerome Pretorius, 13 Gerrit Smit, 12 Hennie Skorbinski (captain), 11 Ruwellyn Isbell, 10 Kobus Marais, 9 Stefan Ungerer, 8 Willie Engelbrecht, 7 Thembelani Bholi, 6 Brian Shabangu, 5 Hugo Kloppers, 4 Stefan Willemse, 3 Pieter Scholtz, 2 Marko Janse van Rensburg, 1 Kwezi Mona.
Replacements: 16 Frankie Herne, 17 De-Jay Terblanche, 18 Cameron Lindsay, 19 Hilton Lobberts, 20 Francois Kleinhans, 21 Theo Maree/Reynier van Rooyen, 22 Selom Gavor.
Griquas: 15 Adriaan Coertzen (captain), 14 Ederies Arendse, 13 Tertius Kruger, 12 Johnathan Francke, 11 Kyle Steyn, 10 George Whitehead, 9 Christiaan Meyer, 8 De Wet Kruger, 7 Sias Koen, 6 Wendal Wehr, 5 FP Pelser, 4 Wandile Putuma, 3 Stephan Kotze, 2 AJ Le Roux, 1 Liam Hendricks.
Replacements: 16 Wilmar Arnoldi, 17 Marius Fourie, 18 Jonathan Adendorf, 19 Sintu Manjezi, 20 Shaun McDonald, 21 Renier Botha, 22 Andre Swarts.
Referee: Quinton Immelman
Assistant referees: Ricus van der Hoven, Des van Wyk
TMO: Willie Vos