Hooker Frankie Herne scored three tries to help the Pumas beat the EP Kings 38-30 in Port Elizabeth and avoid the Currie Cup wooden spoon.
The Pumas have tasted success in their final game of the league stage. The win against the Kings marks their first win in eight matches.
The Kings, however, have finished their season without a single win. They rightly occupy last place on the Currie Cup table.
That said, the Kings were competitive in the fixture against the Pumas. They led 13-5 after a try by Johan Tromp and some accurate goal-kicking by Pieter-Steph de Wet.
The Pumas grew stronger as the game progressed. When Kings flank Brandon Brown was sent to the sin bin, the visitors took advantage. Herne scored his second try of the match and Heinrich Steyl added the extras to leave the Pumas trailing by just 20-19 at half-time.
The Pumas' momentum stalled when Carel Greef was yellow-carded in the 55th minute. The Kings scored through Ricky Schroeder three minutes later to extend their lead to 27-19.
But the Pumas finished strongly in the fourth quarter. Kevin Luiters scored on the hour to reduce the deficit, and Herne added his third of the evening in the 72nd minute. Devon Williams converted the latter try to give the Pumas a 31-30 lead.
JP Lewis scored thereafter to put the result beyond doubt. The subsequent conversion by Williams took the Pumas out to an eight-point lead, and ensured that the Kings finished the game without a losing bonus point.
EP Kings – Tries: Johan Tromp, Pieter-Steyn de Wet, Ricky Schroeder, Conversions: Pieter-Steyn de Wet (3). Penalties: De Wet (3).
Pumas – Tries: Brian Shabangu, Frankie Herne (3), Kevin Luiters, JP Lewis. Conversions: Heinrich Steyl (2), Devon Williams (2).
EP Kings – 15 Johan Tromp, 14 Siviwe Soyizwapi, 13 Berton Klaasen, 12 Waylon Murray, 11 Sampie Mastriet, 10 Pieter-Steyn de Wet, 9 Ricky Schroeder (c), 8 Christiaan de Bruin, 7 Sebastian Ferreira, 6 Brandon Brown, 5 Dylan Pieterse, 4 Tazz Fuzani, 3 Vukile Sofisa, 2 Martin Bezuidenhout, 1 Barend Potgieter.
Subs: 16 Warrick Venter, 17 Pieter Stemmet, 18 Etienne Oosthuizen, 19 Luke van der Smit, 20 Cullen Callopy, 21 Vian van der Watt, 22 Lungelo Gosa.
Pumas – 15 Devon Williams, 14 JP Lewis, 13 Tyler Fisher, 12 Hoffman Maritz, 11 Leighton van Wyk, 10 Heinrich Steyl, 9 Emile Temperman, 8 Renaldo Bothma (c), 7 Carel Greeff, 6 Brian Shabangu, 5 Jannie Stander, 4 Jeremy Jordaan, 3 Louis Albertse, 2 Frankie Herne, 1 Dee-Jay Terblanche.
Subs: 16 Simon Westraadt, 17 Marné Coetzee, 18 Hugo Kloppers, 19 Reuben Johannes, 20 Kevin Luiters, 21 Deon Helberg, 22 Ruwellyn Isbel.
Photo: Michael Sheehan/Gallo Images