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Rugby | Absa Currie Cup First Division

Shaun Venter © Gallo Images

Pumas rally to ground Eagles



Right wing Braam Pretorius kicked 24 points as the Pumas kept their unbeaten record intact in the Currie Cup First Division with a 44-26 (halftime 9-16) victory over the SWD Eagles in Witbank on Friday evening.

The hat-trick of wins takes the Pumas to the top of the First Division table with 14 points from their three matches.

The Eagles remain on eight points and in third place, although they may yet be overtaken on the ladder, depending on the results from Saturday’s two fixtures.

The home crowd were treated to an open and entertaining game of rugby in which their team enjoyed the lion’s share of possession but did not use it effectively until they clicked in the final quarter to run in four good tries.

Pretorius was the hero for the Pumas, kicking three conversions and six penalties to help turn the tide against a visiting Eagles side who started the game with intent and, indeed, led quite comfortably at the break.

The men from George were also well served in the points-scoring department by scrumhalf Jandré Blom, who almost matched Pretorius’s heroics as he converted two tries (including his own) and four penalties for a total of 21 points.

For the Pumas, eighthman Doppies le Roux was a constant thorn in the flesh of the visitors and he was deservedly named man of the match for his efforts, although the entire loose trio must be commended for their yeoman work against an abrasive Eagles pack.

In this regard, replacement flanker Martin Sithole must also be singled out for praise. Sithole came on as early as the 35th minute and his industrious night at the office was rewarded with a try in the 78th minute.

With three wins on the trot, things are looking up for the Mpumalanga side and while it is still early days in the competition, they are definitely shaping up as the team to beat in the First Division.

Scorers:

Pumas 44 – Tries: Shaun Venter, Allistair Kettledas, Martin Sithole, Doppies le Roux. Conversions: Braam Pretorius (3). Penalties: Pretorius (6).

Eagles 26 – Tries: Wayne Bennett, Jandré Blom. Conversions: Blom (2). Penalties: Blom (4).



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