Kimberley - Flyhalf Nicolas Sanchez kicked eight from eight, including a penalty two minutes from time, to give the Pampas XV a nailbiting 32-29 (halftime 16-17) win over GWK Griquas in a Vodacom Cup match played at Diamantveld High.
Man of the match Sanchez slotted six penalties and two conversions in a faultless, 22-point kicking display as the Argentinians made it four from four in the competition despite being outscored by four tries to two on the day.
It was Griquas’ first defeat of the campaign but they at least had the consolation of taking two points from the match, one for scoring four tries and the other for finishing within seven points of a team that must now surely be considered one of the favourites for the title.
The Pampas XV, who hung on for a nail-biting 27-22 win over the defending champion Blue Bulls last weekend, started strongly with scrumhalf Martin Landajo scooting through in the 11th minute for flyhalf Sanchez to convert.
Replacement Griquas wing Rocco Jansen struck back for the home side with a quarter gone and flyhalf Earl Rose’s conversion levelled matters in a game in which the lead changed hands several times.
Sanchez put the Pampas XV 10-7 ahead with the first of six penalties but Griquas responded almost immediately when centre Barry Geel slipped over after 25 minutes for his team’s second try.
Rose added another penalty but Sanchez responded with two of his own to make it a one-point game at the break.
The Pampas flyhalf continued in the same fashion in the second half, slotting a further two penalties to add to prop Bruno Postiglioni’s try to make it 29-17.
But the home side refused to throw in the towel, and tries to replacement hooker Matthew Dobson in the 55th-minute, and centre Wilmaure Louw nine minutes later, gave them a bonus point and made it 29-29 with 15 minutes remaining.
But it was Sanchez who stepped up as the sands of time were running out to slot a 78th-minute penalty that separated the sides.
Griquas 29 – Tries: Rocco Jansen, Barry Geel, Matthew Dobson, Wilmaure Louw. Conversions: Earl Rose (3). Penalty: Rose.
Pampas XV 32 – Tries: Martin Landajo, Bruno Postiglioni. Conversions: Nicolas Sanchez (2). Penalties: Sanchez: (6).