Border Bulldogs lose their bite
Peter Martin
April 30, 2016

Seeking for their fourth consecutive victory in this Currie Cup encounter, home team, the Border Bulldogs blew their chances for advancement in the Currie Cup this year when they came short against an aggressive Steval Pumas team who won a patchy game 28-3 on an icy-cold day with a sharp westerly wind at the Buffalo City Stadium here Saturday.

The game itself was not much of a spectacle with only three tries being scored - all by the Pumas.

Truth be told, the Bulldogs never looked like crossing their opponents' line but in the first half they showed a vast improvement in their defence work compared with last season which had materially helped them to their three consecutive wins to get their campaign really moving well earlier this month.

But some weak defence leading to two tries in the second stanza by the Pumas put paid to any chance they might have had of winning four in a row.

The visitors virtually camped on the Border tryline for the first six minutes of the match and there was little doubt at that point that the Pumas pack was the stronger and the Bulldogs had a tough encounter on their hands.

The Pumas lock, Stephan Greeff had a magnificent game at the line-outs while their flank, one of the smallest men on the field, Marnus Schoeman, played his heart out throughout and was a constant thorn in the Bulldogs’ flesh.

The only score for the Bulldogs came from a penalty kick from their flyhalf, Oliver Zono, who had a good game for the Bulldogs.

During the first half there were some sniping individual runs from the Pumas’ backs, but these were quelled by the Bulldogs.

But just six minutes before halftime the Pumas were awarded three penalties in a three-minute session of play, and taking a scrum for the third, their left wing Marcello Sampson broke through to score under the posts.

The try was easily converted by Pumas flyhalf Justin van Staden, who earlier had missed a long-range penalty against the wind.

The halftime score was 7-3 for the Pumas.

In the second minute of the second stanza Van Staden succeeded with a penalty from about 30 metres out and thereafter Border were never in the game as they struggled to hold back the rampant visitors.

Lock for the Bulldogs, Lindokuhle Welemu played well, however, and was strong on defence and attack but was just not able to breach the Pumas' defence on occasions.

A further two penalties by Van Staden and a magnificent flying try down the right wing by reserve back Tyler Fisher halfway through the stanza, followed by a late try by the other reserve utility back, Hennie Skorbinski, who stormed over for a well-deserved try with two or three Border defenders holding on in vain after a melee to the right side of the Border posts, sewed the match up for the visitors.

And so it’s back to the drawing board for Border, who this season boasted the scalps of the Lions, the Sharks XV and Eastern Province under their belts.

Points scorers

Border 3: Penalty by flyhalf Oliver Zono.

Pumas: 28: Tries to left wing Marcello Sampson and reserve utility backs Tyler Fisher and Hennie Skorbinski; Penalties: flyhalf Justin van Staden (3); Conversions: Van Staden (2).

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