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Rugby | Currie Cup

Griquas stun Pumas in Nelspruit



The Tafel Lager Griquas overturned an 18-point deficit to stun the Steval Pumas 38-35 (halftime 10-28) in their Currie Cup Premier Division encounter at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on Saturday.

The difference in the scores was a solitary penalty from flyhalf George Whitehead as both sides ran in five tries.

The win lifted Griquas off the foot of the table as they achieved five log points to move to 26 points, level with the Pumas who are once place above them.

It was a fantastic way for the men from Kimberley to finish off their season as they have completed their 12 matches, but despite the defeat the Pumas still have one more match to play and their playoff chances are still alive as they will take on the Vodacom Blue Bulls in Pretoria next weekend in what is effectively a quarterfinal.

The Pumas were full value for money in the first half as they stamped their authority on the match with a dominant performance which was epitomised by their forwards, who gave their Griquas counterparts a torrid time upfront.

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The Pumas also came to play a fast-paced game with scrumhalf Stefan Ungerer providing the impetus on every occasion.

Ungerer took a quick-tap penalty early on, turning down an easy three points and the Pumas forwards worked their way close to the line which resulted in Number 8, Willie Engelbrecht, scoring the opening try after just two minutes.

But Whitehead opened his account minutes later when he landed a penalty after flanker Brian Shabangu was penalised for tackling without arms.

The Pumas then kicked into high gear and ran in three more tries in 20 minutes with Engelbrecht sealing his brace after just 12 minutes.

The tall backrower scored his second after flyhalf Kobus Marais weighted an excellent up and under with Ungerer timing his jump to perfection, snatching the ball out of the air and then feeding Engelbrecht who ran in to score.

Hooker Marko Janse van Rensburg controlled well from the back of a rolling maul to score the third try which came from a lineout close to the Griquas line.

INTERCEPT TRY

The home side secured their bonus point on 26 minutes when centre and captain Hennie Skorbinski picked up a wicked bouncing ball and raced down the length of the field to score after Ungerer had popped in a box-kick from his own tryline.

Griquas ended the first half well when they swung the ball left and right with hooker AJ le Roux being caught short of the line. The ball popped out the side of the ruck and flanker Wendal Wehr picked up and dived over the line to bring the first half to a close.

The visitors were out of the blocks fast in the second half, needing just 47 seconds to score their second try as they moved the ball around the field again.

Right wing Ederies Arendse broke down the right, feeding to Wehr who broke a tackle and then fed inside to scrumhalf Christiaan Meyer.

Meyer used some quick hands to feed inside to centre Tertius Kruger who ran in close to the sticks to score.

At this time the Griquas were on fire as the Pumas looked to defend their lead. But the try from Kruger seemed to have awoken the sleeping Pumas players and with the home side on the attack, Ungerer lobbed a long pass out to the right but Kyle Steyn read the pass to perfection, intercepting and sprinting down the field to score as the visitors closed the gap to just four points.

The Pumas hit back though with their fifth try to extend the lead out to 11 points as replacement hooker Frankie Herne bossed the back of another rolling maul to score.

But Griquas scored straight from the restart with fullback and captain AJ Coertzen dancing his way through the defence before offloading to Arendse, who beat two defenders to score in the right-hand corner.

Kruger then gave Griquas the lead for the first time in the game with just six minutes remaining on the clock as the centre scored his second try.

The ball was spread out to the left with speed and Steyn sprinted through with support left and right but chose to pass inside to Kruger, who then side-stepped fullback Justin van Staden to score what would be the winning try.

The visitors had the chance to deny the Pumas a losing bonus-point after the hooter had sounded as they crashed over for what would have been their seventh try but referee Quinton Immelman went upstairs and the TMO ruled a knock-on at the ruck.

SCORERS

Steval Pumas - Tries: Willie Engelbrecht (2), Marko Janse van Rensburg, Hennie Skorbinski, Frankie Herne; Conversions: Kobus Marias (5).

Tafel Lager Griquas - Tries: Tertius Kruger (2), Wendal Wehr, Kyle Steyn, Ederies Arendse; Conversions: George Whitehead (4), Andre Swarts; Penalty: Whitehead.



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