WP upset Pumas in Nelspruit
CURRIE CUP REPORT: The Pumas’ play-off hopes suffered a blow when they went down 17-23 to Western Province in a Currie Cup Round 11 clash in Nelspruit on Friday.
Both teams scored three tries in a scrappy match at the Mbombela Stadium.
The Cape side managed to gain only their second win in nine games in the campaign so far and this away win also ended their run of seven consecutive losses.
To add to the drama, the stadium lights went off in the last minute of the game with the home side on the attack.
The defeat came at a bad time for the home side, who defeated the Sharks 20-10 last weekend in Durban, and who have not finished on the losing side in their previous two encounters with WP.
The Capetonians led 20-10 at half-time through three tries, a conversion and a penalty goal while the Pumas replied with two unconverted tries.
In a tightly contested second half, the home team managed to score a converted try whilst restricting the visitors to only one successful penalty kick. However, that was not enough to wipe out the deficit.
The result leaves the Pumas still in fifth place on the log with 20 points from nine games, while the sixth-placed Western Province increased their points tally to 13.
The team from Mpumalanga were their own worst enemy, especially in the opening part of the first half, when they conceded a series of penalties, while their problems were compounded by the wayward goalkicking performance by the usually dependable Eddie Fouche.
Sergeal Petersen, the WP speedster and a former Junior Springbok wing, made his 50th Currie Cup appearance and he was one of the three try-scorers for the Cape side in the opening stanza.
Powerful prop Neethling Fouche and scrumhalf Godlen Masimla grabbed the other two tries, while flyhalf Tim Swiel added the rest via conversion and a penalty kick.
The set-piece has been the Pumas’ good ally so far this campaign and it was no surprise when they scored their two tries from line-out mauls. Hooker Eduan Swart was followed by prop Corne Fourie over the whitewash.
With lock Ben-Jason Dixon off the field due to a yellow card, it was the Pumas who definitely ended the first half as the strongest unit. The second half was a far more tightly contested affair, with the home side making far less mistakes.
Meanwhile, it was the team in pink jerseys who grew stronger as the second half progressed and it was no surprise when scrumhalf Chriswill September sniped around the corner to score the Lowvelders’ first points of the second half. Fouche finally managed to land a conversion to narrow the deficit to 20-17.
But the home side then conceded a penalty straight from the restart which Swiel easily slotted from right in front of the posts to stretch the lead once more, this time to 23-17 with still 20 minutes of play.
To the frustration of the home fans, their team just couldn’t convert their many scoring opportunities into points as a result of good defence by the opposition and wrong options by the ball carrier.
The referee showed yellow cards to Dixon, his WP lock colleague Ernst van Rhyn and Pumas lock Anele Lungisa.
Man of the match: It was not pretty out there. WP flyhalf Tim Swiel was excellent on attack in the first half and his goal-kicking proved to be the difference as well. However, the award goes to Western Province captain Nama Xaba, who gave the Pumas plenty of problems at the breakdown. He was also solid on defence and carried the ball powerfully in open play.
Tries: Swart, Fourie, September
For Western Province:
Tries: Masimla, Fouche, Petersen
Pens: Swiel 2
Yellow cards: Ben-Jason Dixon (WP, 40+3′ – cynical play, side entry at the ruck); Anele Lungisa (Pumas, 42′ – foul play, high tackle); Ernst van Rhyn (WP, 52′ – cynical play, side entry at the ruck)
Pumas: 15 Devon Williams, 14 Sebastian de Klerk, 13 Alwayno Visagie, 12 Eddie Fouche, 11 Tapiwa Mafura, 10 Tinus de Beer, 9 Chriswill September, 8 Willie Engelbrecht (captain), 7 Anele Lungisa, 6 Daniel Maartens, 5 Shane Kirkwood, 4 Malembe Mpofu, 3 Ignatius Prinsloo, 2 Eduan Swart, 1 Corne Fourie.
Replacements: 16 Llewellyn Classen, 17 Dewald Maritz, 18 Simon Raw, 19 Darrien Landsberg, 20 Phumzile Maqondwana, 21 Giovan Snyman, 22 Ali Mgijima, 23 Etienne Taljaard.
Western Province: 15 Tristan Leyds, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Cornel Smit, 11 Angelo Davids, 10 Timothy Swiel, 9 Godlen Masimla, 8 Keke Morabe, 7 Marcel Theunissen, 6 Nama Xaba (captain), 5 Ben-Jason Dixon, 4 Ernst van Rhyn, 3 Neethling Fouche, 2 Jacques van Zyl, 1 Kwenzo Blose.
Replacements: 16 Hendrik van Schoor, 17 Leon Lyons, 18 Lee-Marvin Mazibuko, 19 Simon Miller, 20 Junior Pokomela, 21 Bobby Alexander, 22 Mnombo Zwelendaba, 23 Ebenezer Tshimanga.
Referee: Morne Ferreira
Assistant referees: Dylen November, Local appointment
TMO: Ben Crouse
Photo by: Johan Orton
Additional source: SA Rugby