Blue Bulls shocked by Pumas
August 27, 2010
Odwa Ndungane scored for the Sharks in Durban © Getty Images
Blue Bulls Free State Golden Lions Griquas Leopards Natal Sharks Pumas South Africa Western Province
Corne Steenkamp takes on the Blue Bulls defence for the Pumas Craig Burden adds to the Griquas load with a fourth try for the Sharks Jongi Nokwe scores for the Cheetahs against Western Province Renaldo Bothma crashes over for a Lions try Ryno Barnes makes a dive pass from a ruck The Lions' Elton Jantjes is sandwiched by Walter Venter and WIlhelm Koch The Pumas players celebrate beating the Blue Bulls
The Pumas enjoyed a famous Currie Cup victory over the Blue Bulls on Friday night, defeating the reigning champions 22-21 at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit. The home side, beaten 38-15 by the Bulls in the opening round, scored four tries in a high-octane contest, one in which their pack refused to take a backward step for the full 80 minutes.
The Pumas had the crowd on their feet after a fired-up start to the game, with two tries in the opening ten minutes. No.8 Christo le Roux powered over from close-range after some powerful drives from the pack before fly-half Elgar Watts split the blue line with a show and go to race 60 metres to the line.
The Bulls were soon back to within two however, with Dean Greyling's powerful try added to an earlier penalty from Francois Brummer. The fly-half was on target again before the break to secure a narrow advantage but was guilty of spurning several kickable opportunities.
Springbok back-rower Dewald Potgieter scored the Bulls' second on 46 minutes but with ominous signs brewing for the Pumas, they commendably rolled their sleeves up and came back at their more illustrious opponents. Replacement wing Ashwin Scott was put over out wide with some slick handling before centre Tian Meyer rounded off a contender for try of the season after more quick hands set Allistair Kettledas haring clear.
Replacement forward Eduan Van Der Walt was sin binned for a disgusting charge on Potgieter at a ruck, allowing Jacques-Louis Potgieter a chance to win the game from range. His kick fell wide, and the celebrations began.
There was another upset in Cape Town, where the Free State Cheetahs completed a miserable two weeks for Western Province with a 29-22 victory.
Province, the early pace setters, lost further ground on the Sharks after this defeat, which was a morale-booster for last season's beaten finalists. Province outscored the visitors three tries to two but were made to pay by fly-half Louis Strydom, whose five penalties proved to be the difference.
Again the Province pack was their main weapon, with lock Adriaan Fondse and No.8 Duane Vermeulen scoring tries either side of one from Springbok wing Gio Aplon, released from the squad this week despite a positive showing in defeat to the All Blacks last weekend.
Flanker Kabamba Floors scored the Cheetahs' first try but they saved the best for last as turnover ball was exploited to the full in a stunning try from winger Jongi Nokwe. Centres Robert Ebersohn and Meyer Bosman featured heavily in the build-up, while a stunning pick-up from flanker Phillip van der Walt set Nokwe away for a simple run in.
The Sharks are now clear at the top after securing revenge against the Griquas with a 48-30 victory in Durban.
After falling victim to a spirited comeback from the Griquas in Kimberley in week one, John Plumtree's side made no mistake on home soil with his experienced players coming to the party. Their evening's work produced five tries, to skipper Stefan Terblanche, Springbok prop Tendai Mtawarira, Odwa Ndungane, Monty Dumond and Craig Burden. For the Griquas, it was a one-man show as winger Bjorn Basson helped himself to four tries in a brilliant performance.
The round's other game was played at Ellis Park, where the Golden Lions beat the Leopards 45-22. Promising Lions flanker Renaldo Bothma chipped in with two tries and was joined in doing so by lock Joe Snyman. Scrum-half Jano Vermaak, wing Michael Killian and No.8 Warren Whitely completed the victory with further tries.