Rosko Specman scored a hat-trick as the Vodacom Blue Bulls beat the Pumas 25-17 in Nelspruit on Friday to end their two-match losing run.
Languishing at the bottom of the log after suffering two defeats each, both the Bulls and Pumas desperately needed to win this clash to keep alive their slim playoff aspirations.
As it turned out, it would be the visiting Bulls who would utilise their opportunities better to claim their maiden victory of the campaign.
The Pumas made a dream start when wing Etienne Taljaard finished off a scintillating team try. But the Bulls answered with two great tries by wing Specman for a slender 12-10 lead at the break.
In return, it was the Bulls who started strongly in the second half. They went on the attack immediately from the restart and when the Pumas infringed at the breakdown, Boshoff lined up a successful kick at goal to extend their lead.
The Pumas would regain the lead again courtesy of another try, but were made to rue a series of spurned opportunities when Manie Libbok kicked the visitors into a one-point advantage. Specman then completed his hat-trick to effectively end the game as a contest.
Pumas – Tries: Etienne Taljaard, Willie Engelbrecht. Conversions: Chris Smith (2). Penalty: Smith.
Blue Bulls – Tries: Rosko Specman (3). Conversions: Marnitz Boshoff, Manie Libbok. Penalties: Boshoff, Libbok.
Pumas – 15 Devon Williams, 14 Morne Joubert, 13 Ryan Nell (c), 12 Henko Marais, 11 Etienne Taljaard, 10 Chris Smith, 9 Ashlon Davids, 8 Jeandre Rudolph, 7 Willie Engelbrecht, 6 Francois Kleinhans, 5 Stefan Willemse, 4 Le Roux Roets, 3 Marné Coetzee, 2 Marko Janse van Rensburg, 1 Andrew Beerwinkel.
Subs: 16 Simon Westraadt, 17 De-Jay Terblanche, 18 Hilton Lobberts, 19 Phumzile Maqondwana, 20 Reynier van Rooyen, 21 Kobus Marais, 22 Alwayno Visagie, 23 Morgan Naude.
Blue Bulls – 15 Divan Rossouw, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Dylan Sage, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Embrose Papier, 8 Tim Agaba, 7 Marco van Staden, 6 Ruan Steenkamp (c), 5 Ruan Nortje, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Wiehahn Herbst, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Simphiwe Matanzima.
Subs: 16 Johan Grobbelaar, 17 Dayan van der Westhuizen, 18 Conraad van Vuuren, 19 Adri Smit, 20 Wihan Vosloo, 21 Andre Warner, 22 Manie Libbok, 23 Jade Stighling.
Photo: Gordon Arons/Gallo Images