Griquas edge Pumas in Nelspruit thriller
Both teams scored four tries in an entertaining game. However, Clinton Swart's boot proved to be the difference at the end of the day.
The Pumas had an early lead when flyhalf Francois Brummer converted a penalty from a long way out in the fourth minute.
That lead did not last long when Swart also added a three-pointer from right in front of the polls to level the scores in the seventh minute.
The Pumas then regained the lead a few minutes later when Jean-Paul Lewis scored a fantastic try in the corner after a swift backline move from a maul in the Griquas' 22.
However, the Pumas' lead was wiped out in a matter of minutes again when scrumhalf Rudi van Rooyen scored the easiest of tries after his forwards laid a good foundation with a driving maull. Swart converted to put Griquas two points ahead.
The Pumas once again regained the lead via a Brummer penalty for lock Jannie Stander gave the home side some breathing space when he crashed over for a try in the 24th minute. Brummer converted the try for an eight-point lead.
Griquas were then given a big advantage when Pumas hooker Frank Herne was yellow carded for some cynical play on the ground in his own half. Swart then reduced the deficit to five points with a penalty, which stemmed from Herne's indiscretion.
The Pumas ill-discipline started to cost them a bit with Swart reduced the deficit again to just two points with another penalty four minutes from the break.
The visitors then scored a crucial try just before half-time via Van Rooyen again to get the lead. Swart converted and at half-time the score was 23-18 in favour of Griquas.
Griquas made a blistering start in the second half when wing Alshaun Bock sprinted away for a converted try, which gave his team a handy 12-point lead.
Despite going further behind, the home side were not going to let Griquas run away with the game.
After sustained pressure in the Griquas half for nearly 10 minutes, Marnus Schoeman finally crossed the whitewash for the Pumas. Brummer added the extra two points with the boot and the Pumas were just five points adrift with less than 30 minutes left.
The Pumas certainly seemed pumped up after that score and after another foray into the Griquas' half, they took the lead. This time, it was Herne, who redeemed himself after his yellow card by crashing over for his team's fourth try. Brummer converted as well.
With less than 13 minutes on the clock, Swart's accurate boot put Griquas back in front by just one point with a penalty.
A few minutes later that lead was extended when Swart, from the halfway line, converted another penalty with a monster kick.
Griquas then took the game away from the Pumas when openside flank Wendal Wehr ripped the ball free in a tackle before racing away to score his team's bonus-point try.
With time running out fast, Brummer brought his team within six points of Griquas with a penalty of his own. However, that would be the last scoring action in the game with Griquas hanging on for the win.
Man of the match: There were a number of candidates from both teams. However, the award goes to both Clinton Swart and scrumhalf Rudi van Rooyen. Swart's accurate boot kept the scoreboard ticking over, while Van Rooyen was outstanding on attack.
Tries: Lewis, Stander, Schoeman, Herne
Cons: Brummer 3
Pens: Brummer 3
Tries: Van Rooyen 2, Bock, Wehr
Cons: Swart 3
Pens: Swart 5
Yellow card: Frank Herne (Pumas, 27 – cynical play, slowing the ball down)
Pumas: 15 Devon Williams, 14 Bernado Botha, 13 Hennie Skorbinski, 12 Leighton van Wyk, 11 Jean-Paul Lewis, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Emile Temperman, 8 Renaldo Bothma (captain), 7 Nardus van der Walt, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Jannie Stander, 4 Wiehan Hay, 3 Louis Albertse, 2 Frankie Herne, 1 De-Jay Terblanche.
Replacements: 16 Simon Westraadt, 17 Jacques Kotze, 18 Hugo Kloppers, 19 Carel Greeff, 20 Kevin Luiters, 21 Marlou van Niekerk, 22 Hoffmann Maritz.
Griquas: 15 Adriaan Coertzen (captain), 14 Jacobus Jonker, 13 Jonathan Francke, 12 Clinton Swart, 11 Alshaun Bock, 10 Elgar Watts, 9 Rudi van Rooyen, 8 Jason Fraser, 7 Sias Koen, 6 Wendal Wehr, 5 Jonathan Janse van Rensburg, 4 Mzwanele Zito, 3 Stephan Kotzé, 2 Abraham le Roux, 1 Steph Roberts.
Replacements: 16 Marius Fourie, 17 Liam Hendricks, 18 Hilton Lobberts, 19 Steve Meiring, 20 Renier Botha, 21 André Swart, 22 Eric Zana.
Referee: Stuart Berry
Assistant referees: Lourens van der Merwe, Alex Jonker
TMO: Willie Vos