Player ratings: Stage fright
OPINION: The emotion of the occasion, their first Final in 52 years, got the better of Griquas.
From the opening exchanges the hosts, Griquas, had that ‘deer in headlights’ look.
It saw Griquas trail by 9-18 at half-time and while they had 40 minutes to set the record straight, they were soon down 9-26 – after their erroneous play saw the Pumas add two more tries.
A try and a penalty allowed the hosts to close the gap to just seven points (19-26), but they just simply could not match the desire of the visitors from Nelspruit.
Jan de Koning rates the Griquas players!
15 George Whitehead
It was an erratic performance from the normally calm utility back, even though his goal-kicking kept Griquas in touch. However, lacked the consistency his team desired.
14 Munier Hartzenberg
Got his team back in the game with a powerful surge and try midway through the second half and continued running hard. His team’s most productive player on the day.
13 Sango Xamlashe (captain)
The skipper had a very nervous start, his first grubber not nearly as accurate as he wanted, and his hands also let him down. Great defence and got into the game in the second half.
12 Rynhardt Jonker
Limited first-half chances, but started to improve after the break. Solid defence on defence, but was well-marked by the opposition.
11 Luther Obi
Didn’t see much of the ball and failed to unleash his brutal power on the Pumas defence. Kept quiet throughout.
10 Alex-Zander du Plessis
Started with a forward pass early on and was nowhere near the usual accurate and clinical form he has displayed for most of the season.
9 Stefan Ungerer
Some early errors, including a kick that went too deep. He eventually settled and his kicking game proved valuable. However, was subbed at half-time.
8 Sibabalo Qoma
High work rate was one of the few standout factors in an otherwise disappointed Griquas performance. Undone some of the good work by conceding a couple of penalties.
7 Hanru Sirgel
Given penalty away in opening minutes – which cost his team three points. However, he worked hard through the 80 minutes and made some great carries in the final quarter – as his team looked to close the gap.
6 Werner Gouws
Got a talking to by the ref about ‘keeping his hands to himself after the whistle’ and had a penalty reversed for putting his hands in the face of an opponent.
5 Derik Pretorius
Won a penalty turnover from the restart, which got three points back for his team. However, his hands let him down at times and lost the physical contest.
4 Cameron Lindsay
Was somewhat subdued in a disappointing first half and was replaced at half-time.
3 Janu Botha
Powerful in early scrums, but was too quiet in general play. Needed to improve his work rate.
2 Janco Uys
His first line-out throw went astray, but once he got over the nerves started to get into the game. Made a crucial cover tackle early in the second half.
1 Kudzwai Dube
Penalised at crucial scrum late in the first half and another forward who had his moments, but was not consistent or physical enough.
16 Simon Westraadt
Only came on in the final 10 minutes. Not enough time to make a real impact.
17 Eddie Davids
Great cover tackle midway through the second half, soon after coming on as a replacement. Continued to work hard and one of the replacements who made an impact.
18 Andries Schutte
was solid in the set pieces, but didn’t make much of an impact in general play.
19 Johan Retief
Attempted to inject some tempo and physicality, after replacing Lindsay at half-time. Was involved in the late attempts to salvage the match.
20 Michael Amiras
Was more productive than Gouws in the 30 minutes on the field. However, Pumas continued to dominate the physical exchanges.
21 Johan Mulder
Brought a bit more spark to the backline, that was desperately looking for some zip. Had a hand in the second-half try that got Griquas back into the game.
22 Theo Boshoff
Asked a few questions of the Pumas defence and directed play better than a nervous Du Plessis, but it was too little, too late.
23 Christopher Hollis