The Pumas pulled off a surprise 27-21 victory over Griquas in their Vodacom Super Rugby Unlocked match in Kimberley on Saturday.
While the match-up may not be one of the blue-ribbon fixtures on the South African rugby calendar, it’s always a strength-versus-strength clash, making for entertaining viewing at the very least.
Given their plucky performance against the Vodacom Bulls last week and the fact that they were hosting Saturday’s encounter, Griquas were favourites coming into this match. But the Pumas played a perfect game to sink Griquas.
The visitors, specifically their forwards, dominated the set pieces and flyhalf Eddie Fouche controlled the game – producing a flawless tactical-kicking display – while they also stayed composed on defence and were well disciplined. It was quite the opposite for Griquas, who battled to get going in the first half and left it too late in the second half.
Through scrumhalf Gunter Smuts and wing Etienne Taljaard, the Pumas scored two brilliant converted tries and, coupled with a penalty by Fouche, sped out to a 17-6 lead. But Griquas would strike back on the stroke of half time when lock Victor Sekekete barged over from the back of a devastating driving maul.
Griquas, though, needed a spike in intensity in the second half to make a full comeback and, unfortunately for them, it just didn’t come.
Fouche extended the Pumas’ lead before Griquas grabbed a second try to make it a two-point game, only for Devon Williams to finish off a blinding team try for the visitors which all but put the game to bed. Griquas still managed to get into promising positions to create a few scoring opportunities, but their execution continued to let them down as they could muster only a further three points before the final whistle.
Griquas – Tries: Victor Sekekete, Adre Smith. Conversion: George Whitehead. Penalties: Whitehead (3).
Pumas – Tries: Ginter Smuts, Etienne Taljaard, Devon Williams. Conversions: Eddie Fouche (3). Penalties: Fouche (2).
Griquas – 15 Anthony Volmink, 14 Daniel Kasende, 13 Harlon Klaasen, 12 André Swarts, 11 James Verity-Amm, 10 George Whitehead (c), 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.
Subs (from): Alandre van Rooyen, Andrew Beerwinkel, Madot Mabokela, Adre Smith, Zandre Jordaan, Gideon van der Merwe, Ashon Davids, Berton Klaasen, Mzwanele Zito, Ewan Coetzee, Bjorn Basson.
Pumas – 15 Devon Williams, 14 Etienne Taljaard, 13 Erich Cronje, 12 Wayne van der Bank, 11 Neil Maritz, 10 Eddie Fouche, 9 Ginter Smuts, 8 Jeandré Rudolph, 7 Willie Engelbrecht, 6 Francois Kleinhans, 5 Pieter Jansen van Vuren (c), 4 Darrien Landsburg, 3 Ruan Kramer, 2 Simon Westraadt, 1 Morgan Naude.
Subs: 16 HP van Schoor, 17 Liam Hendricks, 18 Heath Backhouse, 19 Phumzile Maqondwana, 20 Dian Badenhorst, 21 Neil Marais, 22 Ali Mgijima, 23 Dewald Maritz.
Photo: Louis Botha/Gallo Images