Pumas leave the best for last

By Lucky Maree

As the Pumas come running onto the Mbombela Stadium, they will have heard that Currie Cup log leaders Cheetahs have just scored a bonus point victory over the Blue Bulls – and they will have to respond.  

As anticipated all week, the game starts at full speed with sevens legend Rosko Specman leading the charge for the Griquas.

Both the Griquas and the Pumas score beautiful tries – but both tries are disallowed. There is no score after 12 minutes and there is no clear domination by either side. These guys could give rugby a good name.  

Amazingly, for a game where both teams play positive attacking rugby, there is no score until the 35th minute when Devon Williams and Diego Appollis combine to put Etienne Taljaard into a gap and he scores under the posts.

Griquas score a penalty after the halftime hooter and with 40 minutes to go, the bonus point for four tries seems a long way away for both these teams.

The second half starts with another penalty for the Griquas which Lubabalo Dobela converts and now it is a one point game.

Ten minutes later, it has reached that stage where both the teams are throwing the ball around without any thought about scoring and the frantic pace has led to a stream of handling errors.

The team that settles down and plays good old fashioned rugby, will have the best chance of winning.

The yellow card that referee Stephan Geldenhuys waves at Pumas flyhalf Tinus de Beer may be decisive – especially as Griquas replacement flyhalf George Whitehead has come onto the field. He may just be that stabilising influence that Griquas need.

Pumas seem to be doing most of the attacking, and they are rewarded with two penalties that give them a seven point lead. Griquas need a converted try to tie the scores – however the way the game has been going seven points may just be a winning margin.

But all of that no longer matters when after constant pressure from the Pumas, Tinus de Beer plays a perfectly weighted chip into space which Brandon Thomson picks up at full speed to score near the posts. With a 14 point lead the Griquas need two tries to tie the scores.

Game over? Nope. On 75 minutes Carl Els scores under the posts and once again it is a seven point game. But the penalty that Tinus de Beer slots from 37m out, must surely finally take the stuffing out of the brave Griquas.

The best, however, is left for last. After the hooter, Andre Fouche finally scores a try for the Pumas after six players handled the ball from well inside their own half.

Pumas (3 tries) 28-13 (1 try) Griquas.

Pictured above: Pumas touching down against the Griquas


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