Loading...
Loading Live Scoring...
*All times CAT (GMT+2)

Rugby | Absa Currie Cup First Division

Carl Bezuidenhout © Gallo Images

Pumas book place in final



The Steval Pumas ramped up their performance in the second half to beat the SWD Eagles 52-33 (halftime 20-16), with six tries, and cruise into the final of the Absa Currie Cup First Division at Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on Friday evening.

The scoreline is somewhat unjust to the Eagles, who threw everything they had at the unbeaten log leaders, taking the lead at 30-23 with two quick tries at the start of the second half.

But that was when the Pumas woke up and went back to basics, building the phases and using their dynamic tight five to break the Eagles’ defence.

They ran in four tries from that point to reaffirm their challenge for a spot in the Premier Division next year.

Perhaps it was the sense of occasion which got to them, for as coach Jimmy Stonehouse admitted: “Winning 14 out of 14 means nothing. This is the one that counts now.”

But the Eagles flew at them, opening the scoring in the fourth minute with a fine move down the line which was touched down by Clinton Wagman.

The Pumas’ innate ability, and the amazing skill of former Blitzbok Rosco Speckman, kept them in the game, but they will rue the chances they literally let slip though their hands.

Although Corne Steenkamp benefited from a great break from Speckman, at least two tries went begging.

It was particularly damaging because they occurred when Eagles captain Kabamba Floors was on the sidelines, cooling off after a rush of blood saw him headbutt a Pumas player. By the time he came back, the hosts had advanced their cause by only three points.

Nevertheless, Speckman, named man of the match, again shattered the Eagles line to put Stefan Watermeyer in at the corner and they started looking comfortable at 20-16 at halftime, despite relinquishing the initiative through turnovers and poor discipline which enabled Justin van Staden to keep the scoreboard moving.

But the hosts were knocked back in the second half by two quick tries from Anver Venter and Alshaun Bock, the recipient of a wonderful offload from hooker Martin Ferreira, taking his try count in this campaign to 17.

The Pumas have come from behind before in this tournament, and have honed the art of driving home their advantage.

They have a fine collection of forwards who can carry the ball, and a lively scrumhalf in Faf de Klerk, but it was Speckman who got the ball rolling again, opening the way for Coenie van Wyk.

Then it became a bit of a procession, with RW Kember, Renaldo Bothma and Doppies le Roux all crossing the line.

Carl Bezuidenhout missed the last conversion but still notched up 22 points to remain way ahead as the top scorer of the season with 198 points.

SCORERS

Steval Pumas- Tries: Corne Steenkamp, Stefan Watermeyer, Coenie van Wyk, RW Kember, Renaldo Bothma, Christo le Roux. Conversions: Carl Bezuidenhout (5). Penalties: Bezuidenhout (4).

SWD Eagles: Tries: Clinton Wagman, Anver Venter, Alshaun Bock. Conversions: Justin van Staden (3). Penalties: Van Staden (4).

Shop

The Poisoned Chalice
The Springboks have had several post-isolation coaches, and if they agree on nothing else, they will concur that everyone in the job suffers enormous pressure
R157.00
Coach - Marco Botha
At 34, Heyneke Meyer was fired as head coach of a Super Rugby team for the second time
R114.00
South Africa XV Ball
South Africa XV Ball Now: R119 Was: R200 Format:Sport EquipmentProduct type:SportDelivery:Dispatched within 24 hours (1 working day) This fan ball...
R119.00


Comments

More expert analysis and opinion from Sport24
The opinions expressed by Sport24 experts and bloggers are theirs alone, and do not necessarily represent those of SuperSport

Event Streaming

Channel Streaming

Other Live Streaming

Event Streaming

Channel Streaming

Latest Video Highlights

Sports Talk



Kyle Brown
Fans, fun and Sevens success
The week leading up to the Nelson Mandela Bay Sevens was a special one. The fans were passionate,...

Brendan Venter
Boks must think outside the box
Springbok supporters have every right to feel disenchanted after an underwhelming end-of-year tour.

Tony Johnson
Boks and Wallabies burnt in final outings
Playing the last test of the year in the last week of November has again proven to be a stumbling...

Gavin Rich
Boks learned quite a lot actually
When SuperSport returned from the Millennium Stadium to the studio discussion, it was mentioned...