Pumas end Griquas' campaign in Kimberley
CURRIE CUP REPORT: The Pumas secured their spot in this season’s Currie Cup play-offs with a hard-fought 27-17 win over Griquas in the final round in Kimberley on Friday.
The defending champions had to endure a tense final quarter but they had enough in the tank to pull away from the home side in the end.
The Pumas scored three tries on their way to victory, with one of them coming in the 76th minute.
It’s a disappointing ending for Griquas. They needed a win to advance to the semifinals, but in the end, it was a bridge too far for them.
The home side dominated possession in the opening stages but they couldn’t find a way through the Pumas’ defence.
They eventually opened the scoring in the 13th minute with a George Whitehead penalty.
The visitors eventually got a little bit more of the ball and they levelled the scores in the 20th minute with a Tinus de Beer three-pointer.
The arm-wrestle between the two teams continued with both teams struggling to find some rhythm on attack.
Jimmy Stonehouse’s team had the opportunity to go in front in the 34th minute, but De Beer pushed his penalty kick wide.
Instead, it was the home side who took the lead after flyhalf Lubabalo Dobela broke through the Pumas’ defence in the midfield to sprint away for the game’s first try.
Whitehead added the extras with the conversion to give his team a seven-point lead.
However, the visitors had the final say of the half with lock Deon Slabbert crashing over for a try after some great running by Diego Appollis in the build-up.
De Beer was successful with the conversion and at half-time it was 10-10.
It was a fantastic start to the second half for Griquas with Dobela showing his quality again.
The flyhalf collected the ball after a poor kick from Devon Williams before weaving his way through the Pumas’ defence. He eventually offloaded the ball to Thabo Ndimande who dived over for a great try.
Whitehead made it a seven-point lead with the conversion.
The Pumas were not going to lie down after that and after some sustained pressure and some great handling, Francois Kleinhans powered his way over the tryline. De Beer levelled the scores once again with his conversion.
The visitors then took the lead in the 64th minute with a De Beer penalty.
With just over four minutes left on the clock, the Pumas put the game to bed with a Wian Van Niekerk try and another conversion from De Beer.
Man of the match: He was on the losing side, but Lubabalo Dobela showed what a quality player he is on attack. He scored a try and created another with some excellent runs. He gets the award.
Tries: Dobela, Ndimande
Cons: Whitehead 2
Try: Slabbert, Kleinhans, Van Niekerk
Cons: De Beer 3
Pens: De Beer 2
Griquas: 15 George Whitehead, 14 Rosko Specman, 13 Jay-Cee Nel, 12 Eduard Fouche, 11 Luther Obi, 10 Lubabalo Dobela, 9 Johan Mulder, 8 Carl Els, 7 Hanru Sirgel (captain), 6 Thabo Ndimande, 5 Derik Pretorius 4 Dylan Sjöblom, 3 Janu Botha, 2 Janco Uys, 1 Kudzwai Dube.
Replacements: 16 Sean Swart, 17 Cebo Dlamini, 18 Justin Forwood, 19 Johan Retief, 20 Stephan Smit, 21 Reagan Oranje, 22 Sango Xamlashe, 23 Ashlon Davids.
Pumas: 15 Devon Williams, 14 Andrew Kota, 13 Diego Appollis, 12 Ali Mgijima, 11 Etienne Taljaard, 10 Tinus de Beer, 9 Chriswill September, 8 Kwanda Dimaza, 7 Francois Kleinhans, 6 Andre Fouche, 5 Shane Kirkwood (captain), 4 Deon Slabbert, 3 Simon Raw, 2 Pieter Jacobs, 1 Corne Fourie.
Replacements: 16 Darnell Osuagwu, 17 Etiene Janeke, 18 Dewald Maritz, 19 Malembe Mpofu, 20 Ruwald van der Merwe, 21 Giovan Snyman, 22 Gene Willemse, 23 Wian Van Niekerk
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant Referees: Griffin Colby, Stephan Geldenhuys
TMO: Quinton Immelman