Kimberley draw sees Griquas advance to play-offs
CURRIE CUP REPORT: Griquas and the Pumas had to settle for a share of the spoils after their final round Currie Cup clash ended in a 13-13 draw in Kimberley on Saturday.
The two points for the draw saw Griquas advance to the semifinals, while the Pumas will have to wait for the result of the Sharks v Western Province clash in Saturday’s final match.
The Peacock Blues struggled to get their hands on the ball and were made to work extremely hard in the first half.
A yellow card only added to the energy-sapping defensive work that had to be done, which they did with aplomb to trail by just 3-5 at half-time.
They remained under pressure in the second half, but their conditioning and fighting spirit kept them in the contest and allowed them to snatch a draw to finish the league phase in third place.
The Lowvelders will be kicking themselves as they dominated territory and possession, had ascendency in the set pieces and turned down a kickable penalty in the 77th minute.
George Whitehead scored the first points of the game in the fourth minute, sending a penalty goal sailing through the uprights after opposite number Eddie Fouché went off his feet at a ruck.
Fouché made amends with a brilliant kick off the left foot to put his team in the attacking 22, where captain Pieter van Vuuren poached the line-out. Under-fire Tafel Lager Griquas conceded a string of penalties, which led to Adre Smith being sin-binned in the 12th minute.
Crucially, the Pumas failed to get on the board in the 10-minute period they had a man advantage. The hosts earned immediate relief through a scrum penalty and escaped another precarious situation when they secured a maul turnover from a line-out.
The Pumas pounced on a turnover as brilliant hands saw replacement Tapiwa Mafura dot down in the corner in the 27th minute. It went upstairs as Chris Hollis had done well to try to force Mafura into touch, but the try stood. Fouché couldn’t add the touchline conversion.
Shane Kirkwood thought he was in for the visitors’ second moments later, but his try was disallowed by TMO Ben Crouse for an earlier foot in touch. Whitehead missed an opportunity to regain the lead in the 36th minute after Marné Coetzee was caught coming in from the side and after a real arm-wrestle of a first half, the Pumas held a two-point lead.
Fouché again pinned the hosts in the 22 with an excellent touch-finder to start the second half, with Kirkwood working the line-out steal this time around. Griquas were quick to concede and penalty and Fouché stepped up to make it 8-3 after 44 minutes.
Momentum was well and truly with the Pumas and Erich Cronje looked to have scored, however, the try was disallowed as the ball had gone forward from Daniel Maartens’ rip at the ruck.
Whitehead kicked a second penalty goal against the run of play before the visitors got their elusive second try when Sebastián de Klerk handed off a couple of defenders to score in the 53rd minute. Fouché was unable to make it a two-score game but the Pumas had their tails up at 13-6.
Fouché lined up another kick at goal into the strong wind in the 64th minute. This time, his radar was working but his kick dropped just short.
With time running out, Whitehead was the clutch player Griquas needed. The flyhalf fed Chriss Hollis with a good short ball that saw the big centre power over for the try, with Whitehead slotting the crucial conversion to level the scores in the 73rd minute.
Curiously, the Pumas opted not to kick at goal when they were awarded a penalty with three minutes remaining, a decision they may well rue as they coughed up the ball after well over 10 phases as the game ended in a draw.
Man of the match: The Pumas’ locks was outstanding during the 80 minutes. The award is shared between Pieter van Vuuren (captain) and Shane Kirkwood, who were both outstanding in the physical exchanges, especially on defence.
Pens: Whitehead 2
Tries: Mafura, De Klerk
Yellow card: Adre Smith (Griquas, 12 – repeated infringements)
Griquas: 15 Ashlon Davids, 14 James Verity-Amm, 13 Chris Hollis, 12 Johnathan Francke, 11 Eduan Keyter, 10 George Whitehead, 9 Stefan Ungerer, 8 Ruan Steenkamp (captain), 7 Hanru Sirgel, 6 Gideon van der Merwe, 5 Stefan Willemse, 4 Adre Smith, 3 Erich de Jager, 2 Alandre van Rooyen, 1 Nqobisizwe Mxoli.
Replacements: 16 Janco Uys, 17 Andrew Beerwinkel, 18 Janu Botha, 19 Cameron Lindsay, 20 Johan Momsen, 21 Raegan Oranje, 22 Tinus de beer, 23 Ederies Arendse.
Pumas: 15 Devon Williams, 14 Sebastián de Klerk, 13 Erich Cronje, 12 Ali Mgijima, 11 Etienne Taljaard, 10 Eddie Fouche, 9 Ginter Smuts, 8 Willie Engelbrecht, 7 Niel Otto, 6 Daniel Maartens, 5 Pieter van Vuuren (captain), 4 Shane Kirkwood, 3 Marné Coetzee, 2 Simon Westraadt, 1 Morgan Naude.
Replacements: 16 Eduan Swart, 17 Ruan Kramer, 18 Ignatius Prinsloo, 19 Kwanda Dimaza, 20 Phumzile Maqondwana, 21 Chriswill September, 22 Alwayno Visage, 23 Tapiwa Mafura.
Referee: Cwengilie Jadezweni
Assistant referees: Griffin Colby, local appointment
TMO: Ben Crouse
Additional source: SA Rugby