Cape Town - The Steval Pumas scored eight tries to three as they routed the Eastern Province Kings 53-20 (halftime 29-8) in their provincial tournament fixture at Mbombela stadium, Nelspruit, on Friday.
The Kings arrived in Nelspruit having won only two of their previous nine games and placed second last on the standings.
By contrast the Pumas were sitting pretty and in third position on the log and tagged as obvious favourites for the encounter.
But it was Eastern Province Kings who opened the scoring first when wing Yaw Penxe ran in for a try in the second minute.
But four tries from the Pumas before the break, with two from hooker Frank Hearne, saw them strike up a commanding lead over the Kings. Flank Lambert Groenewald secured the bonus point try shortly before the whistle sounded for halftime. Flyhalf Justin van Staden converted three of the four tries and also landed a penalty.
With lock Tazz Fuzani doing well in the loose and lineouts, the Kings narrowed the gap when play resumed as Penxe got in for his second try of the game. Michael Brink converted after landing an earlier penalty for the Pumas to lead 29-15.
But flank Brian Shabangu’s secured the home team’s fifth try in the 55th minute with the Kings struggling to keep the strong running Pumas at bay. But they managed to keep trading blows as Courtney Winnaar scored their third try only for Groenewald to reply with his second try for the Pumas after 61 minutes.
With 10 minutes remaining, replacement Reuben Johannes crashed over for his team’s seventh try and Van Staden converted for a 46-20 lead.
The Pumas took it past the 50-mark when Deon Halberg touched down with five minutes left on the clock to cap a fine evening for the hosts.
Pumas – Tries: Frank Herne (2), Marcello Sampson, Lambert Groenewald (2), Brian Shabangu, Reuben Johannes, Deon Halberg; Conversions: Justin van Staden (5); Penalties: Justin van Staden
EP Kings – Tries: Yaw Penxe (2), Courtney Winnaar; Conversions: Michael Brink; Penalties: Michael Brink