Pumas march past Griffons
The Steval Pumas continued to dominate the Absa Currie Cup First Division as they hammered the Down Touch Griffons by 42-24 (halftime 18-12) at a sunny, but cold North West Stadium in Welkom on Saturday.
The sparse crowd of just 100 were treated to nine tries but saw three yellow cards handed out, two to the visitors and one to the home side.
The Pumas used an early one-man advantage to open up an 8-0 lead while the Griffons flyhalf, Tertius Maarman, had been sent to the sin-bin after just five minutes for tripping another player. Jean Claude Roos, who kicked three conversions and three penalties in the match, slotted the opening penalty to give his side a 3-0 lead after five minutes.
Despite being a man down, the Griffons missed a chance to level the scores just six minutes later when Innes Kritzinger missed a penalty. Roos, who has been steady with the boot all season, failed to convert the opening try from the Pumas flank, Doppies Le Roux.
The home side opened their account through Martin Sithole, with Kritzinger missing the conversion, to narrow the gap to three points. The hosts were then gifted an opportunity to put the visitors under pressure when the burly Pumas prop, Ivann Espag, was yellow carded for slowing the ball down.
The Pumas were to strike first though with 14 men, when No 8 Renaldo Bothma scored after 32 minutes. Ross converted to extend their lead to 10 points. But the Griffons made their extra man eventually count with a converted try of their own through Maarman. Roos slotted his second penalty of the day as the teams went into the break just six points apart.
The second half belonged to the visitors as they scored three converted tries and a penalty in response to the hosts' two tries, one of which was converted.
Espag was replaced by Francois Du Toit at the start of the second stanza and immediately made an impact as he scored a try in the first minute after the restart. Roos converted yet again and added a penalty 10 minutes later as the Pumas opened up a 16-point lead.
The Pumas all but sealed the match seven minutes later when their speedy fullback, Coenie van Wyk, crossed the chalk for a five-pointer. Roos slotted his third conversion to take his personal tally to 15 points for the day. But the home side never gave up and fought back with two tries of their own.
Maarman, making up for his earlier indiscretion, went over for his second try, and the Griffons third try, after 68 minutes. Engelbrecht converted to reduce the gap back to 16 points. Six minutes later, referee Jason Jafta, did not appreciate being 'chirped' by RW Kember and prompty showed the Pumas loose-forward a yellow card.
The Griffons used their extra man to great effect with Freddi Ngoza scoring a bonus-point fourth try for the hosts. With Engelbrecht missing the conversion, the Griffons were still 11 points behind with just four minutes remaining.
The Pumas then showed their class and superiority by rounding off the day with a good try by the replacement hooker, Corne Fourie. Carl Bezuidenhout, who replaced Roos, converted the try to give the visitors a resounding 42-24 victory.
The Pumas have now extended their lead at the top of the Absa Currie Cup First Division log to an impressive 13 points over their nearest rivals, the SWD Eagles, and remain undefeated with their tenth straight win.
Despite the loss, the Griffons move up one place, above the Border Bulldogs as they secured one point for scoring four tries, but are 12 points adrift of a play-off spot with only four games remaining.
GRIFFONS - Tries: Martin Sithole, Tertius Maarman (2), Freddie Ngoza; Conversion: Joubert Engelbrecht (2)
PUMAS - Tries: Doppies Le Roux, Renaldo Bothma, Francois Du Toit, Coenie van Wyk, Corne Fourie; Conversions: Jean Claude Roos (3), Carl Bezuidenhout; Penalties: Roos (3)