Jonker keeps Boland at bay
A late try from JW Jonker earned the Pumas a deserved 26-17 (halftime 8-10) victory over the Boland Cavaliers in a Vodacom Cup match played at the Boland Stadium in Wellington on Friday afternoon.
In a game played in front of no more than 300 diehard spectators, the visitors were full value for their win although they did have to wait until three minutes before the end to seal matters.
On balance it was a fair reflection of things, with the Pumas dominating the collisions and the Bolanders trying some nifty things out wide, only to let themselves down by not holding on to the ball at crucial stages.
Pumas eighthman Doppies le Roux epitomised the visitors’ rugged approach and was a deserved man of the match, but his entire forward pack can take a bow for the way in which they dealt with their opposition at times.
This was never more evident than when they were awarded a penalty try after the Bolanders collapsed a maul on their own line in the 55th minute.
The writing was on the wall from this point on, and the resultant seven points had the effect of undoing all the good work that Boland had put in up to that point, starting with an excellent try by centre Jonathan Francke in the opening minute, converted by fullback Willie le Roux.
Le Roux added a 24th-minute penalty to give his side a two-point lead at the break after the Pumas’ hard-working lock Rudi Mathee had earlier crashed over and flyhalf Coenie van Wyk had kicked a penalty.
Van Wyk put the Pumas 11-10 in front soon after the restart but tighthead prop Rossouw Kruger shifted the balance back in the Bolanders’ favour after 50 minutes with a try converted by Le Roux.
But it proved to be the last time the Cavaliers would trouble the scorers, as the Pumas proceeded to score 10 points through a Van Wyk penalty and the penalty try that knocked the wind out of home sails.
That set up a nailbiting final 14 minutes, with the Pumas hanging on desperately at times to their 21-17 lead.
But the pressure was finally relieved when Jonker scooted away in the dying seconds to give his side their fourth win from five games this season.
For the Cavaliers, a fourth defeat will prompt further hard looks in the mirror, especially given that they showed so much promise and fighting spirit in beating the champion Blue Bulls at Loftus just a few weeks ago.
Boland 17– Tries: Jonathan Francke, Rossouw Kruger. Conversions: Willie le Roux (2). Penalty: Le Roux.
Pumas 26 – Tries: Rudi Mathee, JW Jonker, penalty try. Conversion: Coenie van Wyk. Penalties: Van Wyk (3).