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Pumas hold off late Griquas fightback to claim deserved win

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The Pumas beat Griquas 21-27 in a hard-fought contest in Round 2 of Super Rugby Unlocked at Tafel Lager Park, Kimberley.

The men from Mpumalanga outscored their hosts three tries to two as they held on for a slender win in the Northern Cape.

Ginter Smuts and Neil Maritz scored either side of Victor Sekekete’s five-pointer, while Devon Williams’ late score canceled out Adre Smith’s second-half try.

Eddie Fouche kicked 12 points from the tee, edging out George Whitehead (11 points), who was wayward with a couple of kicks.

Both teams came into the game winless after their opening round fixtures, and this game gave one team an opportunity of a rare win in a loaded Super Rugby competition full of the ‘big’ South African unions

The Pumas led 11-17 at the interval after an even opening 40 minutes in the Northern Cape.

Sekekete scored on the stroke of halftime to pull Griquas back to within six points after tries from Smuts and a brilliant solo effort from Maritz had put the visitors ahead.

Whitehead had put Griquas ahead with an early penalty, but the boot of Fouche, and the two scores, saw the Pumas take the first half spoils.

The Pumas flyhalf added a 51st-minute penalty to increase his side’s advantage as the hosts’ set-pieces fell apart and their handling deserted them.

Smith crashed over on the hour to make it a one-score match going into the last quarter of the game.

Williams scored a superb 70th-minute try to extend his team’s lead.

Super Rugby Unlocked Round 2: Griquas versus Pumas at Tafel Lager Park

Whitehead kicked a penalty with five minutes to play to give his team a chance to win the game with a converted try.

However, with the clock ticking down, the hosts, in good attacking field position, lost another turnover and a scrum-penalty, as the Mpumalanga men held on for a deserved first victory of the tournament.

The Pumas made life difficult for Griquas in every facet of play as they took control of the game.

Griquas struggled with their scrum in the first half and their lineouts in the second; they lost four lineouts out of 10, while the Pumas won all 10 by the time the game reached 50 minutes.

The hosts also struggled in the rucks and mauls as they gave away too many penalties, white allowed Fourche to keep the scoreboard ticking.

Whitehead opened the scoring before Zak Burger had a try ruled out after he was held up over the chalk.

Twenty minutes in, the visitors struck.

Good defending by Griquas repelled the initial attack; however, they give away another penalty, which Smuts took quickly, and darted over for the score.

Fouche added the extras and then added a penalty to increase the lead to seven.

The visitors started to take control, scoring again when Maritz scored a magnificent solo try, racing 60 metres before leaving Anthony Volmink for dead.

Fouche converted, but the home team struck on the brink of halftime.

The hooter sounded before the Griquas’ forwards powered their way over the whitewash. The ball was held-up by some superb defending by Francois Kleinhans and his leg.

However, the TMO, after a long review, decided that Sekekete controlled the ball and managed to get it down for the score.

Griquas fightback despite a frustrating start to the second, error-strewn stanza.

The errors mounted for Mathie’s men as they struggled to control possession, especially at lineout time and when trying to play with width.

Fouche added his second penalty in the third quarter to extend the lead back to two scores.

Griquas struggled, but after several chances, finally got over the whitewash from a well-worked driving maul.

Smith splintered off the maul before crashing over for a simple score. Whitehead’s conversion made it 18-20 with 19 minutes to play.

With 10 minutes to play, the Pumas landed the knockout blow.

Williams scored a sublime try after Fouche sucked in defenders and sent Phumzile Maqondwana through a gap.

Maqondwana tripped before the 22 but he managed to offload to the supporting Williams, who raced away to dot down under the sticks.

Fouche’s third conversion took the lead back out to two scores before Whitehead’s third penalty gave the hosts a glimmer of hope in the dying embers of the game.

A sixth turnover of the game proved costly for Mathie’s side, who failed to find a winning score as the men from Witbank secured the gutsy, hard-fought win.

Final Score: Griquas 21 (11) Pumas 27 (17)

Scorers

Griquas
Tries – Sekekete, Smith
Pen – Whitehead (3)
Con – Whitehead
Drop –
Cards –

Pumas
Tries – Smuts, Maritz, Williams
Pen – Fouche (2)
Con – Fouche (3)
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: AJ Jacobs
Assistant Ref 1: Cwengile Jadezweni
Assistant Ref 2: Griffin Colby
TMO: Stuart Berry

Match Officials
Referee: AJ Jacobs
Assistant Ref 1: Cwengile Jadezweni
Assistant Ref 2: Griffin Colby
TMO: Stuart Berry

Teams

Griquas
15 Anthony Volmink, 14 Daniel Kasende, 13 Harlon Klaasen, 12 Andre Swarts, 11 James Verity-Amm, 10 George Whitehead (captain), 9 Zak Burger, 8 Niell Jordaan, 7 Stefan Willemse, 6 Carl Els, 5 Victor Sekekete, 4 Ian Groenewald, 3 John-Roy Jenkinson, 2 HJ Luus, 1 Mox Mxoli

Replacements: 16 Alandre van Rooyen, 17 Andrew Beerwinkel, 18 Madot Mabokela, 19 Adre Smith, 20 Zandre Jordaan, 21 Gideon van der Merwe, 22 Ashlon Davids, 23 Berton Klaasen

Pumas

15 Devon Williams, 14 Etienne Taljaard, 13 Erich Cronje, 12 Wayne van der Bank, 11 Neil Maritz, 10 Eddie Fouche, 9 Ginter Smuts, 8 Jeandre Rudolph, 7 Willie Engelbrecht, 6 Francois Kleinhans, 5 Pieter Jansen van Vuren (captain), 4 Darrien Landsberg, 3 Ruan Kramer, 2 Simon Westraadt, 1 Morgan Naude.

Replacements: 16 HP van Schoor, 17 Liam Hendricks, 18 Heath Backhouse, 19 Phumzile Maqondwana, 20 Dian Badenhorst, 21 Niel Marais, 22 Ali Mgijima, 23 Dewald Maritz

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