Pumas stun Griquas in Kimberley
MATCH REPORT: The Pumas are the 2022 Currie Cup champions, beating the Griquas 26-19 in Kimberley on Saturday.
Playing in their first-ever Currie Cup final, the Pumas were absolutely sublime in front of a 10 988 capacity crowd.
*To recap all the action CLICK HERE!!!
They dominated proceedings and outscored the hosts three tries to one for the victory.
The result means the Pumas are the eighth Union to win the prestigious trophy.
For the Griquas, it is a sad ending to an incredible season. The Kimberley side last played in a Final in 1970.
The visitors from Mpumalanga led by 18-9 at the break and outscored their hosts by three tries to one. They also defended very well to keep the men from the Northern Cape on the backfoot for most of the game.
Devon Williams (fullback), Eduan Swart (hooker) and Stormers-bound Willie Engelbrecht (flank) scored the Pumas’ tries, while Munier Hartzenberg (wing) answered with a great second-half score for the hosts to keep them in the game, but they simply never managed to threaten the visitors’ try-line again after that.
The Pumas showed their intent from the start as they took the first points via Eddie Fouche’s penalty kick.
Griquas immediately hit back, George Whitehead levelled matters with his boot before his second penalty kick handed a narrow 6-3 lead to the hosts on the 20th-minute mark.
The match was very evenly contested, with both teams trying to get the upper hand with their kicking game.
However, on two occasions poor kicks by Griquas proved to be a concern.
From a kicking error, Pumas launched a lethal attack, Thinus De Beer’s one-handed skipped pass found Devon Willimas outside, who scored his seventh try of the season in his 50th Currie Cup appearance.
Fouche added the extras for the 10-6 lead.
Whitehead and Fouche exchanged penalties before the Pumas extended their lead when Eduan Swart powered over the line at the back of the maul for the Pumas’ second try.
Fouche could not add the conversion, but the side took an 18-9 lead at the break.
The Pumas started the second half in similar fashion, Williams found space and broke through the Griquas’ defence.
However, the speedster was denied his second try as TMO Quinton Immelman spotted a forward pass in the build-up.
The Pumas eventually extended their lead courtesy of a Fouche penalty.
Jimmy Stonehouse’s men continued to pile on the pressure and Stormers-bound loose forward Willie Engelbrecht dived over the line, 26-9.
The Griquas finally got their much-needed try. Instigated by a quick tap-and-go, Rynhardt Jonker shited the ball wide before Munier Hartzenberg put on the pace and dived over the line for the five-pointer.
Whitehead’s conversion made it a 10-point game with 22 minutes left on the clock.
As precious seconds ticked away, the home team had a golden opportunity to escalate the comeback as they set up a lineout in the 22.
However, their lack of accuracy at crucial times on the day, replacement hooker Simon Westraadt’s throw-in wasn’t straight.
Momentum had swung in the hosts’ favour and needing to score twice, they opted to kick at goal with three minutes left.
Whitehead hit the upright but made good with a booming penalty goal moments later to give them a glimmer of hope.
However, the Pumas’ defence held firm and the Nelspruit side celebrated the sweetest of victories.
Man of the match: Devon Williams, Willie Engelbrecht along with Thinus de Beer were some of the standout performers for the Pumas. Hanru Sirgel of the Griquas was the highlight of his team’s losing battle. However, for his tremendous work rate, making loads of tackles, making crucial turnovers and his try, our nod goes to Pumas hooker Eduan Swart.
Pens: Whitehead 4
Tries: Williams, Swart, Engelbrecht
Pens: Fouche 3
Griquas: 15 George Whitehead, 14 Munier Hartzenberg, 13 Sango Xamlashe (Captain), 12 Rynhardt Jonker, 11 Luther Obi, 10 Alex-Zander du Plessis, 9 Stefan Ungerer, 8 Sibabalo Qoma, 7 Hanru Sirgel, 6 Werner Gouws, 5 Derik Pretorius, 4 Cameron Lindsay, 3 Janu Botha, 2 Janco Uys, 1 Kudzwai Dube.
Replacements: 16 Simon Westraadt, 17 Eddie Davids, 18 Andries Schutte, 19 Johan Retief, 20 Michael Amiras, 21 Johan Mulder , 22 Theo Boshoff, 23 Christopher Hollis
Pumas: 15 Devon Williams, 14 Tapiwa Mafura, 13 Sebastian de Klerk, 12 Eddie Fouche, 11 Jade Stighling, 10 Tinus de Beer, 9 Chriswill September, 8 Andre Fouche, 7 Willie Engelbrecht (captain), 6 Daniel Maartens, 5 Shane Kirkwood, 4 Deon Slabbert, 3 Ignatius Prinsloo, 2 Eduan Swart, 1 Corne Fourie.
Replacements: 16 Llewellyn Classen, 17 Dewald Maritz, 18 Simon Raw, 19 Kwanda Dimaza, 20 Francois Kleinhans, 21 Giovan Snyman, 22 Ali Mgijima, 23 Alwayno Visagie.
Referee: Cwengile Jadezweni
Assistant referees: Morné Ferreira, Griffin Colby
TMO: Quinton Immelman
*Photo credit: Johan Ortan