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Rugby | Currie Cup

Pumas blow away Blue Bulls



Hooker Mark Pretorius scored a hat-trick as the Steval Pumas annihilated the Vodacom Blue Bulls 51-15 (halftime 22-10) in their Currie Cup meeting at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on Friday evening.

A perfect Lowveld evening greeted the teams but it would only be the Pumas who took advantage of the conditions to play an expansive game that the Blue Bulls just could not match.

Pretorius scored his first try 11 minutes into the match after both teams questioned the others' defence. A dominant lineout by the Pumas made it easy for Pretorius to score.

The visitors reduced the deficit to two points via flyhalf Joshua Stander's boot and followed up with a converted try to scrumhalf Andre Warner who showed a great turn of pace to gallop in untouched.

It was all the Pumas from the 34th minute as wing Kefentse Mahlo was yellow carded for a cynical foul a minute earlier.

Flank Thembelani Bholi was on the receiving end of another dominant lineout drive and replacement flyhalf Kobus Marais followed up an earlier penalty goal with a successful conversion.

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The Pumas showed great patience after the halftime hooter to score their third try courtesy of scrumhalf Stefan Ungerer. Marais converted to give the home team a comfortable 22-10 lead at the break.

If the Pumas were dominant in the first half then they were unstoppable in the second half as prop Khwezi Mona scored the bonus point try two minutes after the restart.

The Blue Bulls were dealt another blow in the 45th minute when replacement loose forward Jano Venter was sent to the sin bin for a dangerous tackle which allowed Pretorius to once again score from the resulting lineout.

Lock Ruben van Heerden followed Venter to the sin bin five minutes later for a high tackle which took the wind out of the visitors' sails and yet again Pretorius was on hand to score from the ensuing lineout.

The Blue Bulls just could not contain the Pumas as they ran the men from Pretoria ragged. Wing Ruwellyn Isbell blitzed his way down the left-hand touchline to gather a cheeky kick to score in the 63rd minute.

Fullback Warrick Gelant pulled back a consolation try for the visitors with ten minutes left on the clock but replacement hooker Frankie Herne all but buried the Blue Bulls as he burrowed his way over for a try in the dying minutes.

Fullback Gerhard Smith converted to hand his team a well deserved 51-15 victory over the Blue Bulls and their first Currie Cup win against their Pretoria foes since 2010.

Scorers

Steval Pumas - Tries: Mark Pretorius (3), Thembelani Bholi, Stefan Ungerer, Khwezi Mona, Ruwellyn Isbell, Frankie Herne; Cons: Kobus Marais (3), Gerhard Smith; Pen: Marais.

Vodacom Blue Bulls – Tries: Andre Warner, Warrick Gelant; Con: Josh Stander; Pen: Stander.



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