Flyhalf Eddie Fouche scored 14 points as the Pumas manhandled the Lions in the 2021 Currie Cup opener at Mbombela Stadium on Friday night.
Fouche converted four of the Pumas’ five tries and added two penalties in a 39-10 victory against a Lions team that was beaten up front and kept scoreless for the final 47 minutes of the match.
Gameflow: The Pumas’ defensive line was the feature of a scoreless first quarter, but the Lions eventually put the scoreboard operator to work after 22 minutes when they broke into a seven-point lead with a try from flanker Sibusiso Sangweni, converted by flyhalf Fred Zeilinga.
The Lions lost Willem Alberts in the first half to what looked like a serious leg injury and the withdrawal of the 43-Test Springbok wrecking ball from the visitors’ second row coincided with the Pumas scrum – led by veteran rake Simon Westraadt – gaining an ascendancy that steadily tilted the field in the home team’s favour.
Fouche converted the territory into two penalties and, though Zeilinga replied with one of his own, the Lions pack was visibly distressed by the pressure. Pumas wing Etienne Taljaard and Westraadt combined for two quickfire tries that gave the hosts an 18-10 lead at the break.
The half-time orange juice did nothing to reinvigorate the Lions and the Pumas pack continued to dent their pride in the set pieces and consequently at the gainline and the breakdown.
No 8 Willie Engelbrecht and replacement prop Dewald Maritz crashed over in the third quarter before replacement scrumhalf Ginter Smuts dotted down to complete the Pumas’ impressive start to the domestic championship.