Watts hat-trick sees Pumas home
Flyhalf Elgar Watts scored a first-half hat-trick to help the Pumas to a nailbiting 37-32 (halftime 19-12) victory over the Leopards in a Currie Cup Premier Division match played at the Puma Stadium in Witbank on Saturday.
Watts, the former Stellenbosch and Lions No 10, dotted down in the 11th, 22nd and 30th minutes as the Mpumalanga side notched their first win of the season after winning promotion to the big leagues.
Watt’s 27-point haul was just enough to keep a strong-finishing Leopards team, who also scored five tries, at bay during a nailbiting encounter played on a surface tailor-made for running rugby.
Watts’s two early tries gave the home side a 14-0 lead before Leopards right wing Deon Scholtz went over for the first of his two tries to cut the deficit.
Watts picked up his hat-trick to restore the advantage but the visitors’ left wing Dumisani Matyeshana had the last say before the break, diving over for flyhalf Clayton Durand to convert.
The 1 000-strong crowd were treated to another five tries after the break, but not before Watts and Durand had traded penalties to give the Pumas a 25-15 lead going into the final quarter.
Scholtz brought the Leopards to within five with his second try before Pumas wing Shaun Venter raced through to make it 30-20.
The Leopards again narrowed the gap to five when scrumhalf Michael Bondesio scored in the 69th minute but Allistair Kettledas completed a great afternoon for the wingers on display when he went over with four minutes remaining.
Watts’s conversion made it 37-25 but still the Leopards would not relent, former Sevens Bok Jovan Bowles having the last word with a try on the hooter, converted by Durand, to give the men from Potchefstroom the consolation of two losing bonus points.
Pumas 37 – Tries: Elgar Watts (3), Shaun Venter, Allistair Kettledas. Conversions: Watts (3). Penalties: Watts (2).
Leopards 32 – Tries: Deon Scholtz (2), Dumisani Matyeshana, Michael Bondesio, Jovan Bowles. Conversions: Clayton Durand (2). Penalties: Durand.