Gonzalez Iglesias stars in Pampas XV win
Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias scored 25 points as the Pampas XV thumped the Free State XV 40-20 (half-time 23-13) in their Vodacom Cup South Section match at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein on Friday.
Flyhalf Gonzalez Iglesias scored a try and kicked four conversions, three penalties and a drop goal as the Pampas XV secured their fourth win of the season to move to second on the log while the Free State XV are third from bottom after just two wins in six matches.
The first quarter of the match belonged to the Pampas XV as they dominated possession and territory against the Free State outfit which looked bereft of ideas against a powerful Pampas pack.
The visitors scored their first points in the third minutes, courtesy of a penalty from the accurate boot of Gonzalez Iglesias, who missed just one kick at goal during the match.
The Pampas XV added to their points’ tally three minutes later when they were awarded a penalty try after a scrum five-metres from the Free State XV’s tryline saw the host’s scrum disintegrate.
Gonzalez Iglesias kicked the conversion before nailing his second penalty as the visitors roared into a 13-0 lead after 12 minutes.
The home team finally got some points on the board, in the 19th minute, courtesy of a long-range penalty from right wing Nico Scheepers but the visitors provided the perfect riposte two minutes later when they grabbed their second try from a well-worked set-piece move.
Manuel Montero came off the left wing to punch the ball through the Free State’s midfield defence after a Pampas XV scrum before tighthead prop Juan Gomez was on hand to score in the tackle.
The Free State XV finally grabbed a try with just four minutes left in the half after impressive loosehead prop Marcel van der Merwe, who was prominent in the loose exchanges, barged his way over for a converted score.
Gonzalez Iglesias and Scheepers then traded penalties as the Pampas XV went to the break leading 23-13.
The Pampas XV extended their lead seven minutes after the restart after a wonderful try from a move that started on their own 10-metre line.
Fullback Roman Miralles sparked the move before some slick passing saw Gonzalez Iglesias cross for a try that he converted himself.
Free State were handed a lifeline when Pampas XV inside centre Gabriel Ascarate was yellow-carded for a professional foul as the match centred the final quarter and the hosts scored almost immediately through a converted try from centre Stephan van der Merwe.
But the Pampas XV hit back two minutes later thanks to a drop goal from Gonzalez Iglesias before they clinched the bonus point try with five minutes left when the returning Ascarate dived over in the left-hand corner.
Free State XV – Tries: Marcel van der Merwe, Stephan van der Merwe; Conversions: Nico Scheepers (2); Penalties: Scheepers (2).
Pampas XV – Tries: Penalty try, Juan Gomez, Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, Gabriel Ascarate; Conversions: Gonzalez Iglesias (4); Penalties: Gonzalez Iglesias (3); Drop goal: Gonzalez Iglesias.