Pumas edge Kimberley arm-wrestle
SUPER RUGBY UNLOCKED REPORT: The Pumas opened their account with a hard-fought 27-21 win over Griquas in a very hot Kimberley.
With the temperature at about 37°C at kick-off, the Pumas outscored their hosts by three tries to two to get their first win of the new South African season.
The foundation for the win was laid in the set pieces – especially the Pumas scrum, which monstered the Griquas set piece in the first half.
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The hosts, after winning a couple of early penalties, took the lead through the boot of flyhalf George Whitehead – 3-0 after six minutes.
It took the Pumas a while to get into their rhythm, but towards the end of the first quarter they won a penalty and set up a line-out deep inside the Griquas 22. From a maul and a few phases, they won another penalty close to the line – with scrumhalf Ginter Smuts taking a quick tap and sniping over for the first try. Flyhalf Eduard Fouche added the conversion – 7-3.
Soon afterwards Whitehead had a penalty shot at goal, after offside play at a line-out, and the Griquas flyhalf added the three points – 6-7. Whitehead then pulled an attempt past the left upright, as the hosts struggled to regain their foothold in the game.
Fouche made it a four-point game, 10-6, with a penalty on the half-hour mark.
Three minutes before the break Etienne Taljaard scored a brilliant individual try – from quick breakdown ball and slick handling, the right wing was put into space and beat his man one-on-one on the outside. Fouche’s conversion made it 17-6.
Right on the stroke of half-time, from a line-out about five metres out, Griquas strolled over the line. The call went to the TMO, who ruled that Victor Sekekete had grounded the ball – despite clear television evidence that it was held up. Whitehead’s conversion attempt was wide of the mark – leaving the hosts trailing 11-17 at the break.
Just past the 50-minute mark Fouche landed a penalty to stretch the visitors’ lead to nine points – 20-11.
Griquas came back strongly and another rolling maul saw Adre Smith barge his way over. Whitehead’s conversion narrowed the gap to two points – 18-20.
On the 70-minute mark Devon Williams strolled over under the uprights – following a period of powerful forwards charges. Fouche made it a nine-point game again, 27-18, with the conversion.
With six minutes left on the clock Whitehead narrowed the gap to six points, 21-27, with a penalty.
Griquas launched a fierce raid, but was turned over at a line-out and then conceded a scrum penalty – to allow the Pumas to hold on for a win.
Man of the match: Victor Sekekete was a mainstay for the hosts in the pack and Griquas scrumhalf Zak Burger kept the Pumas defence honest. However, their most influential player was flyhalf George Whitehead, with his outstanding game management. The Pumas front row of Ruan Kramer, Simon Westraadt and Morgan Naude laid an early platform for the visitors. Flank Willem Engelbrecht had some powerful carries, strong defence and winning turnovers at the breakdown. Flyhalf Eduard Fouche was the director of an impressive Pumas show and was close to getting the award himself. Our award goes to Pumas captain and lock Pieter Jansen van Vuren – a former Griquas skipper – with a number of strong carries, a handful of tackles and a couple of crucial line-out turnovers.
Tries: Sekekete, Smith
Pens: Whitehead 3
For the Pumas
Tries: Smuts, Taljaard, Williams
Cons: Fouche 3
Pens: Fouche 2
Griquas: 15 Anthony Volmink, 14 Daniel Kasende, 13 Harlon Klaasen, 12 André Swarts, 11 James Verity-Amm, 10 George Whitehead (captain), 9 Zak Burger, 8 Niell Jordaan, 7 Stefan Willemse, 6 Carl Els, 5 Victor Sekekete, 4 Ian Groenewald, 3 John-Roy Jenkinson, 2 HJ Luus, 1 Mox Mxoli.
Replacements: 16 Alandre van Rooyen, 17 Andrew Beerwinkel, 18 Madot Mabokela, 19 Adre Smith, 20 Zandre Jordaan, 21 Gideon van der Merwe, 22 Ashon Davids, 23 Berton Klaasen.
Pumas: 15 Devon Williams, 14 Etienne Taljaard, 13 Erich Cronje, 12 Wayne van der Bank, 11 Neil Maritz, 10 Eduard Fouche, 9 Ginter Smuts, 8 Jeandre Rudolph, 7 Willem Engelbrecht, 6 Francois Kleinhans, 5 Pieter Jansen van Vuren (captain), 4 Darrien Landsburg, 3 Ruan Kramer, 2 Simon Westraadt, 1 Morgan Naude.
Replacements: 16 Hendrik van Schoor, 17 Liam Hendriks, 18 Heath Backhouse, 19 Phumzile Maqondwana, 20 Dian Badenhorst, 21 Daniel Marais, 22 Aliqhayiya Mgijima, 23 Dewald Maritz.
Referee: AJ Jacobs
Assistant Referees: Griffin Colby, Ben Crouse
TMO: Cwengile Jadezweni