Champions Western Province continued on their winning ways by beating the Pumas 57-28 in a Currie Cup match at Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on Friday evening.
The Cape side showed their intention from the kick-off with the backs and forwards combining effortlessly in a show of force and power. Province raced into a 26-0 lead by the 26th minute with four unanswered tries.
The home side rallied back strongly late in the first half to bring some respectability to the score before halftime.
Flanker Kobus van Dyk starting the scoring spree for the visitors when he rounded off brilliantly in the 6th minute (5-0). Left-wing SP Marais slotted the conversion to get the visitors going (7-0).
Right wing Sergeal Petersen was outstanding in attack and was next to cross the Pumas try line (12-0).
Everything Petersen did was brilliantly executed and he was especially good under the high balls. The reliable Marais was once again on song with the conversion (14-0). Province were not shy to give the ball flight and ran at every opportunity.
Centre Ruhan Nel then crossed the Pumas’ line (19-0) and Marais did the rest with the conversion (21-0).
Marais scored the bonus point try for Province and missed for the first time when he could not convert his own five-pointer (26-0).
Only after this score did the Pumas come to life. Right wing JP Lewis scored the first points against the Currie Cup champions this season when he dotted down in the corner (26-5). Flyhalf Chris Smith added the extra two points (26-7).
The home side started piling on the pressure and were rewarded with a second try shortly afterwards.
This time lock Le Roux Roets scored (26-12). Smith converted.
WP were taking no chances and right on halftime Marais slotted over a penalty to leave the score on 29-14 when the players took a break.
The second half started positively for the Pumas, with the home side applying all the pressure. The Pumas were playing with more urgency, but it was WP that once again got the first points. It was again great work from Petersen that set up an Ernst van Rhyn (lock) try. Marais converted to bring the score to 36-14.
The Pumas had little time to regroup before flanker Sikhumbuzo Notsche crossed for yet another WP try (41-14).
Marais who was kicking with great confidence converted (43-14). Petersen was then rewarded for his outstanding play with a second try after a solid scrum by Province. A little grubber kick by centre Damian de Allende set up the speedy winger’s try (48-14). Marais converted to bring up the half-century for the visitors (50-14).
The Pumas got their third try eight minutes before the end when flank Hilton Lobberts won a turn-over and put centre Jerome Pretorius through (50-21). Smith missed the conversion but did get back on the scoreboard when he scored the bonus point try for the Pumas. He also slotted over the conversion. (50-28).
Province were not finished yet and replacement scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies scored and Marais was once again on song with the conversion. (57-28). This is the second big victory for Province after they started off the campaign by beating the Free State XV by 32-0 last week at Newlands.
Pumas – Tries: JP Lewis, Le Roux Roets, Chris Smith, Jerome Pretorius. Conversions: Chris Smith (4),
WP -Tries: Kobus van Wyk, Sergeal Petersen (2), Ruhan Nel, SP Marais, Ernst van Rhyn, Sikhumbuzo Notsche, Herschel Jantjies. Conversions: Marais (7). Penalty: Marais.