Western Province claimed an important 31-23 bonus-point win against the Pumas at Newlands on Saturday. JON CARDINELLI reports.
WP came into this clash needing five log points to strengthen their bid for a playoff place. Their intent to play the game at pace and score tries was evident from the outset. Their intent, however, didn't always match their execution.
There was a bright moment when Huw Jones broke the line and set up Werner Kok for a try. Francois Brummer kept the Pumas in touch with a drop goal and a penalty. At half-time, WP held a slender 10-6 lead.
The hosts turned down several shots at goal early on in the second half. They attempted to set the lineout and maul from close range, but were thwarted time and again by some determined Pumas defence.
When replacement prop De-Jay Terblance was yellow-carded in the 48th minute, WP appeared to have a chance of realising their four-try goal. It was an advantage they squandered, however, as hooker Mike Willemse was sent to the sin bin soon after for an illegal tackle.
A strong run and finish by Jones in the 57th minute revived WP hopes of claiming the bonus point. But just as it looked as if the hosts would take control of the contest, they conceded a try at the other end of the park.
After a sustained period on attack, WP claimed their third try in the 68th minute. The Pumas defence began to tire, and another powerful run by Kok set up Jan de Klerk for the all-important bonus-point try.
The Pumas scored two more tries in the dying stages to add some respectability to the scoreline, and to highlight WP's vulnerability on defence. Province still have plenty to rectify in the leadup to the playoffs.
Western Province – Tries: Werner Kok, Huw Jones, Leolin Zas, Jan de Klerk. Conversions: Robert du Preez (4). Penalty: Du Preez.
Pumas – Tries: JP Lewis, Tyler Fisher, Renaldo Bothma. Conversion: Devon Williams. Penalty: Francois Brummer. Drop goal: Brummer.
Western Province – 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Werner Kok, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Huw Jones, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Godlen Masimla, 8 Kobus van Dyk, 7 Stefan Willemse, 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Chris van Zyl (c), 4 Jan de Klerk, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Mike Willemse, 1 Alistair Vermaak.
Subs: 16 Neil Rautenbach, 17 Sti Sithole, 18 JP Smith, 19 Jurie van Vuuren, 20 Jacques Vermeulen, 21 Dewaldt Duvenage, 22 Scott van Breda.
Pumas – 15 Devon Williams, 14 Ruwellyn Isbel, 13 Hoffmann Maritz, 12 Hennie Skorbinski, 11 JP lewis, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Emile Temperman, 8 Renaldo Bothma (c), 7 Lambert Groenewald, 6 Brian Shabangu, 5 Jannie Stander, 4 Stephan Greeff, 3 Louis Albertse, 2 Frankie Herne, 1 Kwezi Mona.
Subs: 16 Simon Westraadt, 17 Dee-Jay Terblanche, 18 Hugo Kloppers, 19 Carel Greeff, 20 Kevin Luiters, 21 Heinrich Steyl, 22 Tyler Fisher.
Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images