EP blow it, Pumas reign supreme

The Pumas held on against EP for their eighth back-to-back win, while SWD rose to second place on the 1st division log in an entertaining weekend of rugby.

The Pumas were made to work hard on Friday to hold onto their unbeaten status as EP delivered a fine performance in Nelspruit, while SWD defeated a determined Border outfit with a bonus point to leapfrog the Leopards on the log table. This while the Leopards shut out Boland in Potchefstroom and the Griffons outplayed the Valke in Welkom.

Pumas 33-32 EP

The clash in Nelspruit proved to be epic as the Pumas met their match in an EP outfit strengthened by a number of returning Super Rugby players. The Kings made their presence felt early on with wing Michael Killian scoring the first of the team’s five tries in the fourth minute, which was backed up by another compliments of fullback Scott van Breda in the 28th minute. Van Breda also slotted over a penalty to cancel out one by Pumas’ points machine Carl Bezuidenhout, which put his team 13-3 ahead. But Pumas hooker Jacques Momberg crashed over the tryline on the stroke of halftime to close the gap to 13-8.

The game opened up in the second half with both teams showing more innovation on attack, and they reaped the rewards. The Kings had the first say after the break via two tries in three minutes by Steven Sykes and Tiger Mangweni. But a hat-trick of tries by Pumas captain RW Kember, one of which was in the dying seconds, cancelled out the Kings’ third try of the half by scrumhalf Nicolas Vergallo and sealed the victory. Unfortunately for EP, three missed conversions and one unsuccessful penalty did not assist their cause.

Pumas 33 (8) – Tries: Jacques Momberg, RW Kember (3). Conversions: Carl Bezuidenhout (2). Penalties: Carl Bezuidenhout (3).

EP 32 (13) – Tries: Michael Killian, Nicolas Vergallo, Scott van Breda, Steven Sykes, Tiger Mangweni. Conversions: George Whitehead (2). Penalty: Scott van Breda.


SWD 36-31 Border

The first half in George was gripping with SWD and Border scoring 2 tries a piece, 4, of the 9 tries in total. Two penalties by Border fullback Dale Sabbagh, however, forced the visitors into a 16-14 lead at the break.

But two tries in quick succession by the home team’s Clinton Wagman and Roy Godfrey provided the mental boost they needed to remain on the front-foot and keep alive their hopes of hopping into second place on the log. The Bulldogs hit back after a few tight exchanges with Rynardt van Wyk crossing the tryline, which Stephan Gerber built on with another on the stroke of fulltime. But the Eagles fifth try by Alshaun Bock and a penalty by Justin van Staden was enough to secure their fifth victory.

SWD 36 (14) – Tries: Alshaun Bock, Clinton Wagman, Dumisane Meslane, Mzwanele Zito, Roy Godfrey. Conversions: Justin van Staden (4). Penalty: Justin van Staden.

Border 31 (16) – Tries: Chumani Booi, Rynardt van Wyk (2), Stephan Gerber. Conversion: Karlo Aspeling. Penalties: Dale Sabbagh (2). Drop Goal: Karlo Aspeling.


Leopards 22-17 Boland

Boland started strongly in their clash against the Leopards with Cheswin Williams scoring a try in the fourth minute. But the Leopards took control of the half soon after thanks to their effectiveness at using their point-scoring chances. SA Under-20 wing Luther Obi proved his worth at senior level at the end of the first quarter as he dotted down the team’s first of three tries, which Adriaan Engelbrecht converted for a 7-5 lead. Engelbrecht’s accurate goal-kicking kept the scoreboard ticking as he slotted over a penalty and converted another try by Danie Dames to push his team into a convincing 17-5 lead.

Boland, however, fought back with intent despite being reduced to 13 men as Jacquin Jansen and Brendon April were both sin-binned. With the team forced to retain possession to prevent the Leopards from capitalising on the two-man advantage, their efforts paid off with Jonathan Francke crossing for a try, while April made up for his yellow card in the 73rd minute by crossing for their third try. Flyhalf Eric Zana’s unsuccessful conversion, however, left the scores level with six minutes to go. But Obi saved the day as he touched down for his second try in the dying minutes, which allowed the Leopards to remain in the top three on the log.

Leopards 22 (17) – Tries: Danie Dames, Luther Obi (2). Conversions: Adriaan Engelbrecht (2). Penalty: Adriaan Engelbrecht.

Boland 17 (5) – Tries: Brendon April, Cheswin Williams, Jonathan Francke. Conversion: Eric Zana.


Griffons 50-35 Valke

The Griffons produced a fine second-half display to overturn a 25-17 deficit against the Valke for their second victory of the season. In total they ran in eight tries to only four by the visitors – five of which were scored in the second half – to seal the convincing victory. It was their third bonus-point for scoring more than four tries this season.

Griffons 50 (17) – Tries: Derick van Heerden, Inus Kritzinger, Japie Nel, Jeremy Jordaan, Marnus Briedenhann, Werner Griesel, Willmar Groenewald (2). Conversions: Inus Kritzinger (4), Tertius Maarman.

Valke 35 (25) – Tries: Coert Cronje, Jongi Nokwe (2), Willie Odendaal. Conversions: Jaun Kotze (2), JC Roos. Penalty: JC Roos. Drop Goals: Jaun Kotze (2).