Durban - The Pumas shocked a disappointing Sharks team at Hollywoodbets Kings Park on Friday, and the home team can be grateful that they did not lose by more than 20-10 in the Currie Cup fixture, that is how far off the pace they were.
In the first half especially, the Pumas were a joy to watch compared to the listless Sharks. They were hungry, purposeful, and generally efficient while the Sharks stumbled from error to error, not even able to win their own lineout ball and their kicking was mostly inaccurate, notably the box kicks which were too long and easily fielded.
The pack was also outplayed in the loose and the Pumas mostly had clean, quick ball.
The Durbanites could not blame their four weeks of Currie Cup inactivity because the Pumas hadn’t played in five.
The Pumas took an early lead via an Eddie Fouche penalty and then when the Sharks could not win their own lineout on their 22, the ball was worked out to fullback Devon Williams for a well-taken try.
On 30 minutes, the Sharks eventually got into the Pumas’ 22 and to their credit they got three points from it when Boeta Chamberlain snapped over a drop goal. But they were swimming against the tide, and the Pumas promptly replied with a second try for Williams following a set scrum penalty against the Sharks.
The score was 17-3 at half-time and the Sharks were lucky that was all.
At half-time, Fez Mabtha and Dylan Richardson came on for Kerron van Vuuren and Sikhumbuzo Notshe respectively, and five minutes into the half it looked like the pack had some fire in their bellies at last when they shoved the Pumas off the ball for a scrum penalty.
Marnus Potgieter, the Sharks’ best player in the first half, went over in the corner carrying a pair of defenders but could not get the ball down, but they went back to a lineout near the Pumas’ line and Mbatha was driven over for a try.
Chamberlain kicked the conversion and shortly after nailed a perfect 50-20 touch kick but the resulting maul was bundled into touch just short.
The momentum had shifted in the game in the third quarter but the Pumas hung in and were the next to score, an against the run-of-play penalty by Fouche, to give them a 20-10 lead with a quarter of the game remaining.
That score renewed the spirits of the visitors and they spent most of the last quarter deep in the Sharks’ half and they had the composure to close the game out.
PUMA VUMA! A courageous Airlink Pumas outfit complete a dramatic smash and grab at the Shark Tank 🟣![CDATA]>👏#CarlingCurrieCup #ReachForGold #TheChampionWithin @blacklabelsa pic.twitter.com/mAkWWwKMhG— Carling Currie Cup (@TheCurrieCup) May 6, 2022
Sharks 10 (3): Try: Fez Mbatha. Drop Goal: Boeta Chamberlain. Conversion: Chamberlain.
Pumas 20 (17): Tries: Devon Williams (2). Penalties: Eddie Fouche (2). Conversions: Fouche (2).