Cape Town - The Ford Pumas overturned an eight-point deficit on their way to a narrow 36-33 (half-time 13-18) win over the Boland Kavaliers in their Absa Currie Cup First Division match at Boland Park in Worcester on Friday.
According to the SuperSport website, The Pumas, who trailed 18-10 34 minutes into the match, finally made sure of their victory when fullback JC Roos kicked a 77th minute penalty to break the hearts of the home supporters.
The Kavaliers scored four tries to three but they ran into the in-form Roos who scored 21 points courtesy of five penalties and three conversions in an entertaining contest which saw the lead change hands five times.
Boland outside centre Jacquin Jansen and Roos traded early penalties before the Pumas nabbed the first try of the match, in the 21st minute, against the run of play.
Pumas lock Eduan Van Der Walt intercepted a pass in his own half before putting in a speculative kick ahead.
Boland centre Jonathan Francke failed to deal with the bouncing ball and his opposite number JW Jonker was rewarded for following up as he scooped up the ball before it found its way to right wing MJ Mentz who forced his way over in the corner.
However, the Kavaliers were shading the encounter in terms of territory and possession and their remorseless pressure eventually told, four minutes later, when eighthman Zandre Jordaan barged his way over from close-range for a converted try.
Jansen then kicked a penalty as Boland edged into a 13-10 lead before the hosts extended their lead with a wonderfully constructed try in the 34th minute.
Boland scrumhalf Bolla Conradie sparked the move on his own 10-metre line before right wing Cornal Hendricks provided some pace to the attack. The ball eventually travelled through six pairs of hands before wing Brendon April streaked over in the left-hand corner.
The Pumas would have been a touch nervous trailing by eight points with the end of the first half fast approaching against a Boland team which was looking more and more dangerous but the visitors narrowed the gap to just five points when Roos calmly slotted a close-range penalty.
The gap became two points shortly after the restart when Roos popped over his third penalty before the Pumas hit the lead for the second time in the match when flank Uzair Cassiem broke through the middle of the ruck from five metres out to rumble over for a converted try.
But the Kavaliers clawed their way back onto the contest as they took the ball through eight phases before fullback Eric Zana rounded the move off with Jansen’s conversion helping the hosts into the lead once again.
As the see-saw match entered the final quarter a Roos penalty saw the Pumas regain the lead as their pack of forwards started gaining the upper-hand in the tight exchanges.
The Pumas seemed to make sure of the victory with 11 minutes left in the half when scrumhalf Shaun Venter broke on the Kavaliers’ 22-metre line and he stepped past one defender before handing off another on his way to a superb individual try.
But the Kavaliers came back once again with a Jansen penalty before a wonderful try from replacement wing Senan van der Merwe, who galloped all off 60 metres down the left-hand touchline, levelled the scores with six minutes left in the match.
Jansen failed with the difficult conversion attempt allowing Roos to have the final say in the nail-biting match.
Regent Boland Kavaliers – Tries: Zandre Jordaan, Brendon April, Eric Zana, Senan van der Merwe; Conversions: Jacquin Jansen (2); Penalties: Jansen (3).
Ford Pumas – Tries: MJ Mentz, Uzair Cassiem, Shaun Venter; Conversions: JC Roos (3); Penalties: Roos (5).