Pumas keep playoff hopes alive
Daniel Gallan
June 17, 2017

The Steval Pumas have kept their playoff hopes alive as they trounced the Windhoek Draught Welwitschias 42-8 in their SuperSport Rugby Challenge encounter at the Hage Geingob Stadium in Windhoek on Saturday.

The six try to one bonus-point victory keeps the Pumas in third place in the North conference but with their final match a winnable one against the Valke, and the two teams above them, the Lions and Bulls, locking horns next, the door to the quarterfinals remains ajar.

The last time these two teams played, the men from Nelspruit hammered their opponents from north of the border 64-8 and with a host of the Welwitschias tight five away on national duty, a similar trouncing was expected here today.

However, a combination of sloppy Pumas play and resolute Namibian defence contributed to a slug-fest early on as both sides struggled with rhythm.

It took 10 minutes for the first points to be registered as some intricate interplay on the left wing opened up the space for the Pumas’ scrumhalf Emile Temperman to cross over.

That proved to be the crack in the damn wall the visitors were searching for as a few minutes later a dominant scrum provided acres of space on the blindside for winger Jean-Paul Lewis to score a simple try.

The visiting forwards were far too strong for their amateur counterparts and three more scores emphasised the gulf in quality as the lead stretched to 35-0.

The home fans finally had something to cheer in the 74th minute when strong defence on the half-way line saw the ball squirt loose on the right touchline where flyhalf Dirk von Weidts snaffled it up, evaded a tackle and ran in to score in the corner.

The final score of the match went the way of the Pumas as substitute Jannie Stander crashed over from short range to put an emphatic seal on another fine performance.

The score is a fair reflection of the difference between the sides but the Namibians were valiant throughout the 80 minutes<./p>

With momentum on their side, the Pumas still have a chance of reaching the knockout round of this competition but will need to keep riding this wave, and a little luck, if they are to achieve their goal.

Windhoek Draught Welwitschias: 8 (0)- Try: Dirk von Weidts (74”). Penalty: Winmar Rust (1).

Steval Pumas: 42 (21) - Try: Emile Temperman (10”); Jean-Paul Lewis (16”); Carel Greef (24”, 57”); Francois Kleinhans (48”); Jannie Stander (80”). Conversions: Kobus Marais (3); Sias Ebersohn (3)

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