The Pumas beat the previously unbeaten Western Province 24-7 at Newlands on Saturday to claim their maiden Vodacom Cup title. MARIETTE ADAMS reports.
In a physically dominant display, the Pumas bullied their hosts at the set pieces, which ultimately saw them outscore Province four tries to one.
The men from Mpumalanga started brightly and camped inside Province's 22 for the majority of the opening quarter, but were only able to breach the defence in the 17th minute. After Robert du Preez kicked the ball out on the full, an excellent lineout drive by the Pumas forwards helped flank Marnus Schoeman dive over the tryline.
In an attempt to make up for his earlier mistake, Du Preez chipped the ball over the Pumas defence and regathered beautifully before releasing Godlen Masimla. But the scrumhalf was denied by good scrambling cover defence.
Pinned inside their own territory, Province tried to run the ball out of the danger zone, but great counter-rucking led to another Pumas try. Schoeman made the steal and the ball was recycled quickly before No 4 lock Rudi Mathee scored behind the posts. And five minutes later, Province conceded a third try when Pumas loosehead prop Khwezi Mona burst over from close range. Flyhalf JC Rooc nailed the touchline conversion for a 19-0 lead at the break.
Province played better in the second half and were awarded a penalty try after referee Quinton Immelman lost his patience with the Pumas forwards for repeated infringements on their own line and sent Schoeman to the sin bin. Du Preez added the conversion from in front, but that would be their last points.
A man short, the visitors successfully defended their line as Province attacked with more urgency. Schoeman then returned to win a couple more turnovers late in the match, before scoring his second and the Pumas' fourth try to wrap up the result and the title.
Western Province – Try: Penalty try. Conversion: Robert du Preez.
Pumas – Tries: Marnus Schoeman (2), Rudi Mathee, Khwezi Mona. Conversion: JC Roos (2).
Western Province – 15 Matt Turner, 14 William Ndayara, 13 Pat Howard, 12 Jaco Taute, 11 Tshotsho Mbovane, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Godlen Masimla, 8 Rayn Smid, 7 Justin Benn, 6 Tapiwa Tsomondo, 5 Chris van Zyl, 4 Jan de Klerk, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Michael Willemse (c), 1 Sti Sithole.
Subs: 16 Charlie van Jaarsveld, 17 Deacon Chowles, 18 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 19 Luke van der Smit, 20 Justin Phillips, 21 Kyle Lombard, 22 Ernst Stapelberg.
Pumas – 15 JW Bell, 14 Bernardo Botha, 13 Wilmaure Louw, 12 Stefan Watermeyer, 11 Jerome Pretorius, 10 JC Roos, 9 Reynier van Rooyen, 8 Jason-Colin Fraser, 7 Uzair Cassiem, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Marius Coetzer, 4 Rudi Mathee, 3 De-Jay Terblanche, 2 Jacques Momberg, 1 Khwezi Mona.
Subs: 16 Frank Herne, 17 Simon Westraadt, 18 Eduan van der Walt, 19 Brian Shabangu, 20 Johan Herbst, 21 Justin van Staden, 22 Rosco Speckman.
Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images