The Boland Cavaliers ended a two-game losing run with a 25-22 win over a 14-man Pumas side in Wellington on Friday. MARIETTE ADAMS reports.
Boland came into this contest on the back of two defeats in which they conceded 101 points and scored only 31. But the hosts turned in their best performance of the campaign so far to keep alive their playoff aspirations.
For the Pumas, who had to play with 14 men for over 50 minutes, after outside centre Tyler Fisher was red-carded, this result stretches their winless spell to four games.
The visitors from Nelspruit started brightly and were in pole position for the opening quarter as they dominated territory and possession. They opened the scoring when hooker Frankie Herne barged over from a surging lineout drive, but the Pumas contributed to their own downfall with poor decision-making and a series of handling errors that prevented them from extending that lead while Boland were on the back foot.
Boland, who lost captain Ryan Nel to injury early on, rallied back to score 13 unanswered points via a penalty, a drop goal and a try by fullback Adriaan Carelse, who came into the line as first receiver and sold a dummy pass before skipping over.
In-between Boland's scoring spree before the break, the Pumas were reduced to 14 for the rest of the match when Fisher was given his marching orders for elbowing a tackler.
Boland's earlier heroic defence was ripped to shreds after the break and they would surrender their lead as the Pumas managed to counter with two tries through No 8 Renaldo Bothma and centre Leighton van Wyk early in the second half.
Back in the lead by a point, the Pumas started to show a belief that was missing during the earlier stages, but again poor handling cost them as Boland pounced on two loose passes to score in quick succession to regain the ascendancy.
The Pumas emptied their bench and with two minutes remaining and an eight-point difference, replacement scrumhalf Kevin Luiters went on a darting run to score their fourth try to ensure his side came away with two much-needed log points.
Boland Cavaliers – Tries: Adriaan Carelse, Shaun Adendorff, Robbie Louw. Conversions: Theuns Kotzé (2). Penalties: Kotzé. Drop goal: Kotzé.
Pumas – Tries: Frank Herne, Renaldo Bothma, Leighton van Wyk, Kevin Luiters. Conversion: Francois Brummer.
Boland Cavaliers – 15 Adriaan Carelse, 14 Gerrit van Wyk, 13 Christopher Bosch, 12 Ryan Nel (c), 11 Danwel Demas, 10 Theuns Kotzé, 9 Marnus Hudo, 8 Zandré Jordaan, 7 Jacques Engelbrecht, 6 Shaun Adendorff, 5 Joubert Horn, 4 Shaun McDonald, 3 Basil Short, 2 Clemen Lewis, 1 SP Wessels.
Subs: 16 Francois Esterhuizen, 17 Enoch Mnyaka, 18 Hanno Kitshoff, 19 Wayne Wilschut, 20 Kenan Cronjé, 21 Gerhard Jordaan, 22 Robbie Louw.
Pumas – 15 Devon Williams, 14 Bernado Botha, 13 Tyler Fisher, 12 Leighton van Wyk, 11 JP Lewis, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Emile Temperman, 8 Renaldo Bothma (c), 7 Nardus van der Walt, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Hugo Kloppers, 4 Jannie Stander, 3 Marné Coetzee, 2 Frank Herne, 1 De-Jay Terblanché.
Subs: 16 Simon Westraadt, 17 Khwezi Mona, 18 Wiehan Hay, 19 Lambert Groenewald, 20 Kevin Luiters, 21 Marlou van Niekerk, 22 Ruwellyn Isbell.
Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images