Pampas XV continue unbeaten run
The Pampas XV continued their unbeaten run in the Vodacom Cup as they thumped the Ford Pumas 46-20 (halftime 15-17) in their match at Puma Stadium in Witbank on Friday.
The men from Argentina claimed their sixth consecutive win as they strengthened their hold atop the South Section.
The visitors were the dominant side throughout the match and they ran in six tries to one, with only the boot of flyhalf Coenie van Wyk, who kicked five penalties for a personal haul of 15 points, keeping the home side in the game.
The Pampas XV trailed by one point at the break as they found themselves on the wrong side of referee Quinton Immelman as they conceded nine penalties to two but they were dominant at the breakdown while they also held the edge in the set pieces.
The visitors found their rhythm in the second half, with some of the handling skills from both forwards and backs being a joy to behold, as they scored 31 points to three in the second stanza.
Pumas XV flyhalf Nicolas Sanchez and his opposite number Van Wyk traded early penalties before the visitors scored against the run of play when right wing Agustin Gosiso scooped up a loose ball.
The winger scampered down the touchline to outstrip the cover defence before scoring between the sticks for a converted try as the Pumas XV eased into a 10-3 lead after 10 minutes.
Six minutes later the visitors, who were controlling the match, lost some of their composure when flank Julio Cabello was yellow-carded for a spear tackle.
However, he could consider himself a touch unlucky to have been sent from the field as he did appear to lower his opponent to the ground instead of driving him into the turf.
The Pumas were quick to take advantage of their numerical advantage and, two minutes later, wing Deon Scholtz crossed for a try after an incisive midfield break from Van Wyk.
The blonde pivot then nailed two penalties as the home side took the lead for the first time in the 26th minute.
But the Pampas XV struck back and, with six minutes left in the half, inside centre Maximiliano Nannini crashed over after a wonderful pop pass from his midfield partner Gabriel Ascarate.
Unfortunately for the visitors their indiscipline cost them the half-time lead as Van Wyk stroked over his fourth three-pointer shortly before the break.
The Pampas XV began the second half in a bullish frame of mind and they regained the lead thanks to a Sanchez penalty before scrumhalf Nicolas Bruzzone cantered over for a converted try after a break from a scrum from eighthman Miguel De Achaval.
Van Wyk replied with a penalty before the visitors wrapped up the bonus point for four tries in the 54th minute after a searing break from fullback Roman Miralles led to a try for left wing Juan Imhoff as the visitors eased into a 32-20 lead.
With 13 minutes left, the Pampas XV ended any hopes the Pumas may have had of a comeback as Gosio crossed for his second try of the night after replacement eighthman Leonardo Senatore showed a wonderful turn of speed to set up the five-pointer.
The visitors wrapped the match up with two minutes to play when a stolen lineout ball resulted in Ascarate diving over.
Ford Pumas – Try: Deon Scholtz; Penalties: Coenie van Wyk (5).
Pampas XV – Tries: Agustin Gosio (2), Maximiliano Nannini, Nicolas Bruzzone, Juan Imhoff, Gabriel Ascarate; Conversions: Nicolas Sanchez (4), Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias; Penalties: Sanchez (2).