Province annihilate Pumas
Newlands - Unbeaten Currie Cup log-leaders Western Province ran in seven tries as they fashioned an emphatic 54-13 win over the Pumas at Newlands on Friday evening.
Although the final scoreline suggests a one-sided contest it was hardly the case, as the Pumas offered commendable resistance in the second half, after trailing 35-3 at halftime.
Province enjoying a glut of possession at the outset, adopted a cavalier approach and although they managed to break the first line of defence, the Pumas' cover defence kicked in with great effect to thwart several promising movements. The Pumas infringed several times and the prolific boot of flyhalf Willem ensured that they were duly punished, as he kicked three penalties in the first 16 minutes.
While play was largely confined to the Pumas half up to this stage, the one time that they managed to transfer play into the Province half, flyhalf Edgar Watts landed an 11th minute penalty close to the halfway line (9-3).
Midway through the first half, Province were still in the hunt for their first try despite taking play up to the Pumas' tryline several times and their inability was mainly as a result of their one-dimensional onslaught, which the workmanlike Pumas bravely repelled.
However, the Province pressure finally took its toll in the 23rd minute when they ran in the first of three tries in the space of 10 minutes, two of which were converted by De Waal.
First Flanker Pieter Louw smashed his way over the line and seven minutes later wing Gio Aplon ran in the first of his two tries as Province opened up a commanding 28-3 lead.
Two minutes before the break, the Pumas' secondary defence was opened up by the brute strength of an Anton van Zyl charge. The Province skipper bagged the bonus point try, and after De Waal added the conversion the sides changed ends at 35-3 with the 16 000 crowd offering the home side a generous halftime applause as they made their way to the dressing rooms.
The Pumas returned to the field at the start of the second half wearing their usual home strip and the change of gear seemed to instill some spark into their game.
Not only did they render Province scoreless in the opening stages of the second half they also managed to take play past the home side's 22-metre line several times, albeit without reward.
It was only a matter of time before the Pumas relinquished their grip on the game as Province managed to impose themselves on the match once more - and in spectacular fashion too.
The Province pack's driving maul from 20 metres out ended with a converted try by lock Van Zyl, his second of the match (42-3) in the 59th minute.
This was the signal for Province coach Allister Coetzee to field his substitutes, but the fresh legs took time to find their rhythm and the Pumas made the most of their chances to run hard with ball in hand.
In the final 15 minutes the Pumas were adventurous enough to turn down two kickable penalties and the ploy paid off when they converted the second to score next to the posts through substitute Shaun Venter. Province old boy Ricardo Croy missed the easy conversion (42-8).
Four minutes later the Pumas sprang another surprise when they rounded off after launching a raid from inside their own half, with substitute hooker Torsten van Jaarsveld adding the finishing with his side's second try (42-13).
While Pumas offered some more pressure as the game wound to its close, Province substitute flyhalf Lionel Cronje latched on to an intercept to score a try, which he converted himself (49-13).
In the dying minutes substitute wing JJ Engelkbrecht rounded off the score in the match with an unconverted try close to the corner flag (54-13).
Tries: Louw 2, Aplon 2, Van Zyl, Cronje, Engelbrecht
Cons: De Waal 3, Cronje 2
Pens: De Waal 3
Tries: Venter, Van Jaarsveld
15 Conrad Jantjes, 14 Gio Aplon, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Paul Bosch, 11 Frikkie Welsh, 10 Willem de Waal, 9 Conrad Hoffmann, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Rynardt Elstadt, 6 Pieter Louw, 5 Anton van Zyl (captain), 4 Adriaan Fondse, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg, 1 JD Moller.
Replacements: 16 Hanyani Shimange, 17 JC Kritzinger, 18 Martin Muller, 19 Pieter Myburgh, 20 Louis Schreuder, 21 Lionel Cronjé, 22 JJ Engelbrecht.
15 Carl Bezuidenhout, 14 Ashwin Scott, 13 Tiaan Marx, 12 Siviwe Magaba, 11 Allister Kettledas, 10 Elgar Watts, 9 Jacques Coetzee, 8 Doppies le Roux, 7 Alwyn Bester, 6 Corné Steenkamp, 5 Marius Coetzer, 4 Willem Serfontein, 3 Ashley Buys, 2 Hannes Franklin (captain), Ronnie Uys.
Replacements: 16 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 17 Dee-Jay Terblanche, 18 Dawie Steyn, 19 Andries Kruger, 20 Pieter Meyer, 21 Shaun Venter, 22 Ricardo Croy.
Referee: Pro Legoete
Assistant referees: Stuart Berry, Eugenia Daniels
TMO: Shaun Veldsman