Kimberley - The Pumas have booked their spot in the semi-finals of this year’s Vodacom Cup competition by beating Griquas 28-14 at GWK Park in Kimberley on Friday evening.
The hosts were rated as slight favourites for the game, but in the end it was the try scoring ability of the Pumas along with the kicking boot of flyhalf JC Roos that helped the visiting side from Nelspruit progress to the semis.
The remaining quarterfinals on Saturday will have the final say as to who the Pumas will face in the semifinal, but coach MJ Mentz and his side will take much heart and confidence from their performance.
In a very tough first half both sides impressed with their defence, not giving an inch with regards to five pointers. Roos kicked the only points of the first 40 minutes via two penalty goals to give the Pumas a slender halftime lead of 6-0.
It is uncertain what was said at halftime, but both Griquas and the Pumas came out guns blazing in the second half. Another penalty by Roos four minutes after the game resumed put the hosts nine points behind and let them slip into panic mode.
The Pumas kept their cool amidst all the panic and winger Bernardo Botha went over for an unconverted try shortly after the kickoff.
Griquas made some tactical changes that seemed to work to their advantage as replacement prop Wiseman Kamanga went over for a good try in the 62nd minute, which flyhalf Dean Grant converted to bring the score to 14-7 for the Pumas.
But the visitors played like a side that came in search of a semifinal spot as eighth man Jason-Colin Fraser dotted down in the 67th minute and Roos converted to cancel out the effect of Kamanga’s try.
Seven minutes from fulltime Griquas scored their last points of the game as replacement hooker AJ le Roux went over and Grant converted.
But the Pumas had the last say as replacement backline player Johan Herbst scored against his former team and Roos converted to put the result beyond doubt. Scorers:
Tries: Bernardo Botha, Jason-Colin Fraser, Johan Herbst
Conversions: JC Roos (2)
Penalties: Roos (3)
Tries: Wiseman Kamanga, AJ le Roux
Conversions: Dean Grant (2)