Pampas XV hang on against Blue Bulls
Argentina’s Pampas XV inflicted a third straight Vodacom Cup defeat on defending champions the Blue Bulls with a 27-22 (halftime 17-3) win at Olën Park in Potchefstroom on Saturday.
Embarrassingly for the Bulls, who lost to Boland at Loftus Versfeld last week, they remain winless so far and on the basis of this performance, much hard work awaits coach Denzil Frans and his team if they are to replicate the class of 2010 and challenge for the trophy.
The Pampas XV, who are now unbeaten after three matches, built the foundations of victory on a dominant first-half display during which they enjoyed two-thirds of the possession and scored two excellent tries.
The result, if nobody knew it before kickoff, has merely confirmed that the team from Argentina are strong contenders for the title.
They ran in tries to flyhalf Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias and eighthman Leonardo Senatore, as the Bulls were bossed about at will in the physical exchanges.
Iglesias opened the scoring in the eighth minute with a penalty before opposite number Francois Brummer made it 3-3 three minutes later.
But that proved to be Brummer’s only success of the opening half, as the flyhalf missed a further three kicks that could have kept his side in touch.
Iglesias scored his side’s first try on the half hour when a great run by fullback Roman Miralles freed up the flyhalf, who converted.
The Bulls then suffered ignominy of conceding a pushover try two minutes from halftime that started with a concerted eight-man shove from a five-metre scrum and ended with Senatore flopping on the ball in delight.
The Pampas XV didn't let up after the break, scrumhalf Nicolas Ariel Bruzzone scoring his team’s third try after yet another powerful scrum that saw the Bulls eight disintegrate close to their line.
But then the game turned on its head, and along with it the possession stakes. The result was three quick tries to the Bulls, through wing Akona Ndungane, replacement flanker Marnus Schoeman and flanker Okkie Kruger, in the 62nd, 67th and 71st minutes.
Brummer and another sub, Louis Fouche, kicked conversions to make it 24-22 but the Pampas XV kicked a late penalty before winding down the clock.
Pampas XV 27 – Tries: Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, Leonardo Senatore, Nicolas Ariel Bruzzone. Conversions: Iglesias (3). Penalties: Iglesias, Nicolas Sanchez.
Blue Bulls 22 – Tries: Akona Ndungane, Marnus Schoeman, Okkie Kruger. Conversions: Francois Brummer, Louis Fouche. Penalty: Brummer.