Bloemfontein - The Pumas are on fire in this year's Currie Cup competition after
beating the Free State Cheetahs 31-17 at the Free State Stadium in
Bloemfontein on Saturday.
The team from Nelspruit still
find themselves among the top teams on the log after producing a
well-rounded performance to beat a Cheetahs side that itself has been
gaining good momentum in recent weeks.
The Cheetahs put the Pumas under pressure from the get-go, with a botched kick-off leaving the hosts in the visitors' half.
penalty brought much-needed relief for the Pumas and they in turn
produced a stellar start to underline that running rugby would be the
order of the day.
Equally matched on attack and defence, it was
the scrums that separated the sides, with the Pumas dominating this
facet of play from the start. They drew momentum from it, but good
defence by the Cheetahs denied them.
The Pumas drew first blood
in the 18th minute when centre Hennie Skorbinski rounded off a
well-planned attack to score. Flyhalf Justin van Staden converted to
give the visitors a seven-point lead after a hard-fought opening 20
Van Staden kicked a number of useful penalties shortly
afterwards to stretch the lead to 13 points after the Cheetahs infringed
in the breakdown area. The Cheetahs are dangerous from turn-over
possession, as centre JP du Plessis' try in the 32nd minute showed.
away possession, the Pumas paid the price with Du Plessis sprinting
down the touchline to dot down for the home side. Flyhalf Pieter-Steyn
de Wet converted.
This reduced the points deficit to six, but Van
Staden opened it up again as the Cheetahs' discipline again came up
short. At half-time the visitors led 16-7.
The Pumas started the
second half with as much ambition as they had shown in the first, but
the Cheetahs also seemed more motivated, no doubt after a stern
talking-to from coach Rory Duncan at the break.
continued their dominance of the scrums and forced several penalties
that allowed them to relieve some of the pressure applied by the
But the hosts kept on coming, with scrumhalf Sarel
Pretorius scoring from the breakdown area after beating at least five
Pumas' defenders. De Wet kicked the conversion to reduce the visitors'
lead to two points.
The Cheetahs' deficit opened to five points
when Van Staden kicked another penalty in the 58th minute. De Wet
countered with a three-pointer of his own, bringing the hosts within two
points of the visitors once more.
Some aerial ping-pong followed
before Pumas' winger Rosco Spekman stepped through the Cheetahs'
defenders in the 72nd minute to score. Replacement flyhalf JC Roos
kicked the conversion.
Cheetahs' winger Rayno Benjamin's yellow
card five minutes from full-time did not do his side any favours, and
the Pumas' replacement lock Marius Coetzer crossed for a final try. Roos
failed to convert, but the try put the result beyond doubt.Scorers:
Free State Cheetahs
Tries: JP du Plessis, Sarel Pretorius
Conversion: Pieter-Steyn de Wet (2)
Penalty: De Wet
Tries: Hennie Skorbinski, Rosco Speckman, Marius Coetzer
Conversions: Justin van Staden, JC Roos
Penalties: Van Staden (4)
Free State Cheetahs
15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Rayno Benjamin, 13 JP du Plessis, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Pieter-Steyn De Wet, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Jean Cook, 7 Neil Claassen, 6 Tienie Burger, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Henco Venter, 3 Dolph Botha, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld (captain), 1 Kevin Stevens
Substitutes: 16 AJ le Roux, 17 George Marich, 18 Werner Lourens, 19 Vincent Jobo, 20 Shaun Venter, 21 Willie du Plessis, 22 Joubert Engelbrecht
15 JW Bell, 14 Jerome Pretorius, 13 JW Jonker, 12 Stefan Watermeyer, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Justin van Staden, 9 Dylon Frylinck, 8 Renaldo Bothma, 7 Uzair Cassiem, 6 Corne Steenkamp (captain) 5 Giant Mtyanda, 4 Frikkie Spies, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Francois du Toit, 1 Corne Fourie
Substitutes: 16 Frankie Herne, 17 Dejay Terblanche, 18 Marius Coetzer, 19 Jaco Bouwer, 20 Reynier van Rooyen, 21 JC Roos, 22 Hennie Skorbinski