Loosehead prop Khwezi Mona scored his fifth Currie Cup try against the Blue Bulls on Friday night. Photo: Dirk Kotze, www.pumas.co.za

John Mitchell was regarded as a messiah in Pretoria after replacing Nollis Marais as Blue Bulls head coach this week, but he would've realised just how deep the problems are after the Pumas thrashed his team 51-15 in their Currie Cup clash at Mbombela Stadium on Friday night.

The Pumas scored eight tries to just the two of the visitors to record a bonus point and march up to fourth position on the log with 15 points, having won three out of their six matches.

The Bulls are languishing in second-last place on 13, and are in danger of missing out on the semi-finals.

Much of the Pumas dominance came upfront on Friday night, as they scored no less than five of their tries came from driving mauls off lineouts.

The unlikely figure of hooker Mark Pretorius claimed a hat-trick of tries, while replacement Kobus Marais slotted three conversions.

The Pumas led 22-10 at halftime, and any thoughts of a second-half comeback by the Bulls was extinguished soon after the break when impressive loosehead prop Khwezi Mona crashed over for his fifth Currie Cup try.

Scrumhalf Stefan Ungerer scored a few minutes later, and that would've signalled the end of the Bulls challenge.

But to concede 50 points proves just how far the Bulls have fallen, and Mitchell faces an enormous task in trying to get the once champion union back to the top over the coming months.

Points-Scorers

Pumas 51 – Tries: Mark Pretorius (3), Thembelani Bholi, Stefan Ungerer, Khwezi Mona, Ruwellyn Isbell, Frankie Herne. Conversions: Kobus Marais (3), Gerrit Smith (1). Penalty: Justin van Staden (1).

Blue Bulls 15 – Tries: André Warner, Warrick Gelant. Conversion: Joshua Stander (1). Penalty: Stander (1).

IOL Sport