Province pip Pumas in Nelspruit tussle
Brendon Atwell
May 20, 2016

DHL Western Province secured a hard-fought 27-20 (halftime 17-13) victory over the Steval Pumas in their Provincial tournament clash at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on Friday evening.

Province had spent most of the second half under constant pressure from the home side but a late try from winger JP Lewis enabled the men from Cape Town to leave the North East of the country with all four points while the Pumas had to settle for a point for losing by seven points or less.

The sides were locked at 20-all with with just three minutes left on the clock but a well-worked turn-over resulted in right-wing Lewis breaking down the left-hand touchline to run around and score under the poles to hand the men from Cape Town a hard-fought victory.

Scott van Breda slotted three early penalties to hand WP an early nine-point lead as flanker Marnus Schoeman was consistently penalised by referee Marius van der Westhuizen for not rolling away at ruck time. His opposite number, Justin van Staden, landed his first penalty midway through the first half after Province were pinged for illegal scrumming.

Just minutes later the home side suffered a double-setback when loosehead prop, Dee-Jay Terblanche, was sent to the sin-bin for 10 minutes for not rolling away, as Van der Westhuizen had given the Pumas a team warning and Schoeman had to depart the field through injury. Van Breda slotted the resulting penalty to restore their nine-point advantage but being down to 14 men ignited something in the home side.

Inside centre Hennie Skorbinski ran the perfect dummy-line, which allowed left-wing Marcello Sampson to burst through the centre of the WP line and score the first try of the match. Van Staden converted the try and then slotted his second penalty to hand the lead to the Pumas for the first time in the match.

Lewis then produced some individual brilliance after receiving the ball down the left-hand touchline, beating four defenders with some excellent stepping and swerving to dive over the line for his first try. Van Breda pushed his easy conversion attempt to the right of the uprights to bring the first half to a close with the visitors four points clear.

But the Pumas came out firing on all cylinders in the second stanza and it took the home team just two minutes to regain the lead with what must be one of the team tries of the season. The Pumas moved the ball through almost every single set of hands, showing brilliant handling, pick-ups and offloads to score under the poles through replacement flank, Carel Greeff. Van Standen added the two points to give the home side a slender three-point advantage.

The Pumas missed a golden chance to regain the lead midway through the second half when WP were penalised for being offside at a ruck. But scrumhalf Reynier van Rooyen decided to take a quick-tap penalty, and after a number of surges to the line, the home side knocked the ball on and a chance went a begging.

The Pumas continued to swarm all over Province with forward domination and clinical line-breaks but the final execution let the home side down and this proved to be their downfall as Province turned the ball over on the halfway line with a few minutes left on the clock. The ball was moved to the left and the overlap created the space for Lewis to dart down the touchline and score the winning points.

Van Breda had a chance on the stroke of fulltime to deny the Pumas a bonus point but pushed his penalty attempt wide of the mark.


Steval Pumas - Tries: Marcello Sampson, Carel Greeff; Conversions: Justin van Staden (2); Penalties: Van Staden (2).

DHL Western Province - Tries: JP Lewis (2); Conversions: Scott van Breda; Penalties: Van Breda (5).

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