Naas Olivier scored 21 points as the Ford Pumas cruised to a 51-18 (half-time 23-6) win over the out-gunned Border Bulldogs in their Absa Currie Cup First Division match at the BCM Stadium in East London on Friday.
The Pumas were simply too strong for a Border outfit which has now lost all five of their matches this season with flyhalf Olivier turning in a faultless goal-kicking performance as he succeeded with all nine of his kicks at goal as he slotted three penalties and six conversions.
The visitors ran in six tries to two to claim their third win of the season and they had the better of the forward exchanges although credit must be given to Border flank Brian Shabangu who battled manfully and was prominent of both defence and attack.
The Pumas, despite playing against the wind and driving rain in the first half, made all the early running as the jumped into a 9-0 lead after 10 minutes thanks to three penalties from Olivier.
Border finally opened their scoring in the 12th minute with a penalty from pivot Quinton Crocker.
But the pressure that was being applied on Border’s defence finally told in the 19th minute when the Pumas won a scrum inside their opponent’s 22-metre area. The visitor’s made full use of the set piece as Olivier popped a pass to Dewald Pretorius with the inside centre crossing untouched for a converted try.
Border pulled three points back through a penalty from Crocker as the hosts started playing their way back into the match but their revival was short lived and, with six minutes left in the half, the Pumas grabbed their second try after a storming run from loosehead prop Corne Fourie.
The bulky Fourie gathered the ball on Border’s 10-metre line before he dummied his way past one player and burst clear from 35 metres out while showing a wonderful turn of pace to outstrip the cover defence on his way to a converted try as the Pumas went to the break holding a formidable 23-6 lead.
The wind and rain dropped off at the start of the second half and Border had the better of the first 10 minutes of the second half but their attacking ambitions were curtailed by handling errors at crucial times.
The Pumas made the Bulldogs pay for their mistakes with a try for lock Rudi Mathee in the 57th minute after Mathee had featured strongly in the build-up as his powerful run had carried the ball deep into Border territory.
The visitors claimed their bonus-point try eight minutes later when flank Renaldo Bothma barged his way over after an incisive run from left wing Carl Bezuidenhout.
The game opened up in the last 10 minutes and the Pumas ran in two tries during the period, through replacement forward Torsten van Jaarsveld and substitute lock Nqubeko Zulu but Border never gave up and their courage was rewarded with two late tries from eighthman Gareth Krause and replacement centre Matthew Taljaard.
Border Bulldogs – Tries: Gareth Krause, Matthew Taljaard; Conversions: Quinton Crocker; Penalties: Crocker (2).
Ford Pumas – Tries: Dewald Pretorius, Corne Fourie, Rudi Mathee, Renaldo Bothma, Torsten van Jaarsveld, Nqubeko Zulu; Conversions: Naas Olivier (6); Penalties: Olivier (3).