Pumas embarrass lame Lions
CURRIE CUP MATCH REPORT: The Pumas made a BIG statement of intent when they demolished the Lions in their opening round of South African’s premier domestic competition.
Outscoring the visitors by five tries to one, the men from Nelspruit were full value for their 39-10 win.
Apart from some bravery in the opening quarter, the Lions were never in the game and were outclassed in all departments.
The Lions will also be concerned about the injury of veteran Willem Alberts, who hobbled off in the 14th minute.
Another problem for the visitors from Johannesburg was the amount of pressure they were under in the set pieces – especially in the scrums, where they conceded a number of first-half penalties.
The Pumas have some serious injury concerns of their own, after powerful loosehead prop Corne Fourie twisted his knee awkwardly in a tackle and was stretchered off in the 50th minute.
* Did you miss any of the action? To recap all the drama, CLICK HERE!
The hosts matched the visitors physically in the contact areas, also manning up in defence and out-thinking the visitors.
In the first quarter, the Pumas made nearly 50 tackles, while the Lions’ tackle count had barely reached double figures.
After withstanding the early pressure, they started imposing themselves on the Lions and played a tactically more astute game.
It also didn’t help the Lions that a host of senior players – like EW Viljoen, Jamba Ulengo, Dan Kriel, Fred Zeilinga and Dillon Smit – made a litany of sloppy, amateur errors.
It was not a surprise that Zeilinga and Smit were replaced early in the second half – Springbok Ross Cronjé and rookie Aidynn Cupido sent into battle in the hope of salvaging something from the horror show the visitors had produced in the first 50 minutes.
Flank Sibusiso Sangweni eventually opened the Lions’ account in the 23rd minute – driving over from close range, after a series of forward raids. Flyhalf Fred Zeilinga made it a 7-0 lead with the conversion.
A few minutes later Eddie Fouche opened the hosts’ account, following a scrum penalty – 3-7. That became 6-7 just on the half-hour mark, after a tackle penalty.
Zeilinga stretched the lead back to four points when the Pumas were pinged for a ‘no-arms’ tackle.
A brilliant piece of individualism by the Pumas flyhalf, Fouche, resulted in wing Etienne Taljaard collecting a sublime chip-kick for the hosts’ first try. Fouche Added the conversion – 13-10.
Minutes later hooker Simon Westraadt got an armchair ride at the back of a powerful maul – scoring the hosts’ second try. Fouche was wide with the conversion – leaving his team with an 18-10 lead at the half-time break.
The Pumas were on the attack from the outset in the second half – the TMO overturning a try, initially awarded by the referee in the 47th minute.
However, powerful No.8 Willie Engelbrecht – from a scrum five metres out – powered over for the third try by the hosts. Fouche made it 25-10 with the conversion.
The hosts continued to race away from the visitors, as their forwards mauled close from five metres out, before replacement Dewald Maritz barged over for the bonus-point try. Fouche’s conversion made it 32-10.
Replacement Ginter Smuts further rubbed salt into the festering Lions wounds, a quick tap-and-go to get the fifth try. Fouché slotted the conversion for a 39-10 lead.
The Lions did their best for a consolation score, but they were like lame ducks and the Pumas held on for a comprehensive and deserved win.
Man of the match: Initially No.8 Francke Horn and openside flank Vincent Tshituka did great work for the Lions, but after the first quarter it was all Pumas. Corne Fourie. especially in the scrums, before he left the field with an injury, Willie Engelbrecht and Simon Westraadt made life very uncomfortable for the Lions forwards. Fullback Devon Williams was masterful in his defensive and attacking play, with some great out of hand kicking to boot. Our award goes to Pumas flyhalf Eddie Fouche, who took control of the game with his educated boot and also created his team’s first try – turning the momentum in favour of the home team.
For the Pumas
Tries: Taljaard, Westraadt, Engelbrecht, Maritz, Smuts
Cons: Fouche 4
Pens: Fouche 2
Pumas: 15 Devon Williams, 14 Tapiwa Mafura, 13 Erich Cronje, 12 Ali Mgijima, 11 Etienne Taljaard, 10 Eddie Fouché, 9 Chriswil September, 8 Willie Engelbrecht, 7 Phumzile Maqondwana, 6 Francois Kleinhans, 5 Pieter Jansen van Vuren (captain), 4 Darrien Landsberg, 3 Marné Coetzee, 2 Simon Westraadt, 1 Corne Fourie.
Replacements: 16 Dewald Maritz, 17 Eduan Swart, 18 Ignatius Prinsloo, 19 Brandon Valentine, 20 Daniel Maartens, 21 Ginter Smuts, 22 Matt Moore, 23 Liam Hendricks.
Lions: 15 EW Viljoen, 14 Jamba Ulengo, 13 Manuel Rass, 12 Dan Kriel, 11 Sibahle Maxwane, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Dillon Smit, 8 Francke Horn (captain), 7 Vincent Tshituka, 6 Sibusiso Sangweni, 5 Reinhard Nothnagel, 4 Willem Alberts, 3 Carlu Sadie, 2 Pieter Botha, 1 Nathan McBeth.
Replacements: 16 Morne Brandon, 17 Banele Mthenjane, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 Ruhan Straeuli, 20 Emmanuel Tshituka, 21 Ross Cronjé, 22 Aidynn Cupido, 23 Duncan Matthews.
Referee: Cwengile Jadezweni
Assistant referees: Local
TMO: Marius van der Westhuizen