Cape Town - A remarkable hat-trick from hooker Frankie Herne secured the Pumas a 38-30 win over the EP Kings in a scintillating clash in Port Elizabeth on Friday evening as the Nelspruiters ended their Currie Cup Premier Division campaign with a much-needed victory.
EP Kings flyhalf Peter-Steyn de Wet took the home side to a 6-0 lead early on before Pumas flank Brian Shabangu went over for the first try of the match shortly thereafter, with the missed conversion attempt from Heinrich Steyl leaving the score at 6-5.
The Kings hit back with a converted try through fullback Johan Tromp, but Herne continued his excellent try-scoring record this season by crossing the whitewash a few minutes later, with Steyl adding the two. ]
The Kings extended the one-point lead through a converted Brandon Brown try, but the visitors surged back again through Herne, who crashed over for his second, with Steyl’s successful kick bringing the halftime score to 20-19.
Kings scrumhalf and captain Ricky Schroeder darted over for a converted try shortly into the second half, but the ding-dong battle continued when Pumas scrumhalf Kevin Luiters replied with a try of his own. Steyl’s missed conversion saw the visitors trailing 27-24, with a tense 20 minutes remaining.
The accurate De Wet slotted his third penalty to secure a six-point lead, but man of the match Herne wasn’t done yet as he went over for a remarkable hat-trick from the front row, and Devon Williams made the conversion to give the visitors a nail-biting 30-31 lead.
JP Lewis wrapped things up for the Steval Pumas with a converted try in the dying minutes, with the game ending 30-38.