The Pumas maintained their unbeaten run in this year’s Currie Cup First Division with a 53-30 victory over the Eastern Province Kings in the final at Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit, on Friday evening.
The Mpumalanga team enjoyed a 19-9 lead going into the half-time break.
The hosts’ enterprising fullback Coenie Oosthuizen scored three of his sides’ six tries, while flyhalf Carl Bezuidenhout contributed 19 points.
The match got off to a stuttering start with the Pumas, who did most of the playing, making critical errors in favourable scoring positions.
The Pumas nevertheless denied the Kings possession and launched credible attacks in the first 40 minutes.
The hosts opened the scoring with Bezuidenhout surpassing the 200-point mark with a successful penalty conversion two minutes into the match.
The Kings responded two minutes later with fullback Scott van Breda adding a penalty goal to level the scores.
The Pumas’ probing attacks paid off in the 18th minute when eighthman RW Kember received the ball on the edge of the field to score. Bezuidenhout missed the conversion but the Pumas again crossed the whitewash in the 24th minute thanks to turnover in the Kings’ 22.
Winger Rosko Spekman made the initial break on the counter attack to offload to Oosthuizen for his first try of the evening, taking the score to a 10-point lead.
Van Breda and Bezuidenhout exchanged two penalties each and the Pumas led 19-9 at the half-time.
Shortly after the restart Van Wyk made his way over the tryline thanks to a turnover at a lineout with centre Stefan Watermeyer piercing the Kings’ defensive line before passing to the fullback to score.
Bezuidenhout converted the try and added another three points in the 50th minute to extend their lead to 29-9.
The Kings, however, hit back four minutes later with replacement pivot Ntabeni Dukisa. Van Breda converted.
The Pumas pulled back another three points with Bezuidenhout succeeding with a penalty goal before winger JW Bell scored their fourth try of the evening.
With 10 minutes left in the encounter the Pumas copped two consecutive yellow cards. Giant Mtyanda first receiving his marching orders before Doppies le Roux’s card also led to a penalty try, which was converted.
The Pumas showed their resilience by scoring two tries playing with only 13 men.
Oosthuizen added his third try of the evening in the 75th minute, then Ronaldo Bothma scored the sixth and final try for an emphatic victory.
Scorers: Pumas 53 (19): Tries: RW Kember, Coenie van Wyk (3), JW Bell, Renaldo Bothma.
Conversions: Carl Bezuidenhout (2), JC Roos (2).
Penalties: Bezuidenhout (5).
EP Kings 30 (9): Tries: Ntabeni Dukisa, Penalty Try, Kayle van Zyl.
Conversions: Scott van Breda (3). Penalties: Scott van Breda (3). - Sapa