After an unbeaten run to the final of the SuperSport Rugby Challenge, the Pumas eventually fell at the last hurdle, losing 28 – 13 to Griquas in a hard-fought battle in Saldanha Bay on Sunday.
The loss ended an incredible run of 19 straight victories for the Pumas, who won the SuperSport Challenge last year over the same opponents following another unbeaten route to the final.
This time around, Griquas won a number of crucial penalties in forward play, which gave flyhalf George Whitehead the opportunity to keep his side ahead throughout the match.
Whitehead and Pumas flyhalf Chris Smith traded penalties early on, before Anthony Volmink went over for a converted try to give Griquas a 10-3 lead. Pumas fullback Devon Williams scored shortly after for an unconverted try, but two more Whitehead penalties left the visitors trailing 16 – 8 at the break.
The game opened up in the second half, with both sides displaying some exciting running rugby. But another penalty gave Whitehead the chance to secure a lineout close to the Pumas line, from where the ball was mauled over to extend the lead to 21 – 8.
Williams gave the Pumas hope by crossing for a second try late in the game, but Griquas sealed the match when Eduard Keyter scored and Whitehead converted to give his side a 28 – 13 win.
Pumas – Tries: Devon Williams (2), Penalty: Chris Smith
Griquas – Tries: Anthony Volmink, AJ le Roux, Eduan Keyter, Conversions: George Whitehead (2), Penalties: George Whitehead (3)
Article by Dale Hes
The Pumas beefed up their pack for Friday evening’s SuperSport Challenge semi-final in the Mbombela Stadium against the Sharks XV.
Lock Stefan Willemse shifts to the side of the scrum to replace the injured Hilton Lobberts and Le Roux Roets adds some physicality to the side.
De-Jay Terblanche, who will set a new Puma record of 184 games should he gets a run, has been moved to the bench with Simon Westraadt getting a start.
This weekend it’s winger Ruwellyn Isbell turn to set a milestone when he takes the field for the 50th time in a Puma-jersey.
The Pumas’ wise men has also opted for Justin van Staden at fullback and big Henko Marais at inside centre.
Captain Hennie Skorbinski therefor shift to theoutside centre channel.
Pumas versus Sharks XV: Justin van Staden; Morné Joubert, Hennie Skorbinski ©, Henko Marais, Ruwellyn Isbel; Christopher Smith, Stefan Ungerer; Willie Engelbrecht, Stefan Willemse, Jeandré Rudolph, Cameron Lindsay, Le Roux Roets, Marné Coetzee, Marko Janse van Rensburg, Simon Westraadt. Reserves: Frankie Herne, De-Jay Terblanche, Hugo Kloppers, Brian Shabangu, Reynier van Rooyen, Trompie Pretorius, Devon Williams
The iCOLLEGE stalwart De-Jay Terblanche will be playing in his record equalling 183rd game for the Union when the face the Blue Bulls at the Mbombela Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The record was set by flanker Francois Rossouw between 1991 and 2000.
Terblanche is also on the verge of setting a South African record by a prop forward for one Union which is currently held by Connie Botha, the former SWD prop on 1991.
Puma captain Hennie Skorbinski is back at the helm for the SuperSport Challenge quarter-final.
Skorbinski and Trompie Pretorius are back in the midfield with Morné Joubert replacing JP Lewis.
Springbok flanker Hilton Lobberts starts on the flank while there also two changes at lock.
Stefan Lindsay and Cameron Lindsay are locking the scrum.
iCOLLEGE Pumas vs Blue Bulls: Devon Williams; Morné Joubert, Trompie Pretorius, Hennie Skorbinski ©, Ruwellyn Isbel; Christopher Smith, Stefan Ungerer; Willie Engelbrecht, Hilton Lobberts, Jeandré Rudolph, Cameron Lindsay, Stefan Willemse, Marné Coetzee, Marko Janse van Rensburg, De-Jay Terblanche. Reserwes: Frankie Herne, Simon Westraad, Hugo Kloppers, Brian Shabangu, Reynier van Rooyen, Justin van Staden, Henko Marais.
The iCOLLEGE Pumas got rewarded with a home SuperSport Challenge quarter final at the Mbombela stadium next Saturday against the Blue Bulls for finishing on the overall top of the log.
The Pumas and Griquas will host next weekend’s play-off fixtures at their home-grounds while the other for contestants will have to travel to the Sisha Dukashe stadium in East Londen.
The Pumas are the only team to be victorious in all their fixtures this season and they will play the Bulls, who finished in the eighth place.
The Pumas were in the proverbial driving seat in the second half to beat the Valke 58-29 at Longdale on Sunday but only after a first half scare by the Valke who led 22-14 shortly before the break.
A hat-trick of tries from lineout drives by hooker Marko Janse van Rensburg as well as tries by Willie Engelbrecht and Jeandré Rudolph from lineouts close to the Valke’s line set up the victory.
An intercept try by Whitey Nel shortly before the break to bring the score back to 22-21 signalled the Pumas fightback.
The flying fullback Devon Williams also scored a long-range break away try.
But you have to take your hat off yo the Valke who enjoyed a great first half.
Pumas: Tries: Marko Janse van Rensburg (3), Le Roux Roets, Ryan Nel, Willie Engelbrecht, Devon Williams, Jeandré Rudolph. Conversions: Christopher Smith (6). Penalties: Smith (2).
The four quarter-final matches are (kick-off times and venues subject to change)
Saturday 30 June:
iCOLLEGE Pumas v Vodacom Blue Bulls (Nelspruit)
Tafel Lager Griquas v Boland Cavaliers (Kimberley)
Sunday 1 July (Rugby Festival, Mdantsane):
13h00: Cell C Sharks XV v Xerox Golden Lions XV
15h00: DHL Western Province v Toyota Free State XV
Flanker Jeandré Rudolph will lead the iCOLLEGE Pumas for the first time when they meet the Valke in their last round robin fixture of the SuperSport Challenge in the Bill Jardine Stadium in Johannesburg on Sunday.
Rudolph is an accomplished leader who has captained both the Leopards and the Pukke’s Varsity Cup team with distinction.
With regular captain Hennie Skorbinski not available for this clash the Pumas’ brain trust had to pick a new midfield combination as well.
Henko Marais, another former Leopard and the former Boland captain Ryan “Whitey” Nel will get a start.
Nel hasn’t had a run this year but is back to full fitness.
Abrie Griesel is the new scrumhalf in the team with Stefan Ungerer on the bench.
With the A team back in action there are only four survivors in the Starting line-up that played against Welwitschias, fullback Devon Williams, flyhalf Christopher Smith, number eight Willie Engelbrecht and lock forward Le Roux Roets.
iCOLLEGE Pumas vs Valke: Devon Williams; JP Lewis, Ryan Nel, Henko Marais, Ruwellyn Isbel; Christopher Smith, Abrie Griesel; Willie Engelbrecht, Nardus van der Walt, Jeandré Rudolph ©, Hugo Kloppers, Le Roux Roets, Marné Coetzee, Marko Janse van Rensburg, De-Jay Terblanche. Reserves: Simon Westraadt, Louis Albertse, Cameron Lindsay, Hilton Lobberts, Stefan Ungerer, Justin van Staden, Barend Smit.
Three more youngsters are making their provincial debuts when the iCOLLEGE Pumas face the Namibian Welwitschias at the Sasol Rugby Club in Secunda on Friday night.
Prop forward Morgan Naudé and lock Le Roux Roets will have their first taste of the SuperSport Challenge in a Starting XV that shows ten changes all in all.
Captain Hennie Skorbinski, number eight Willie Engelbrecht, fyhalf Justin van Staden, winger Morné Joubert and fullback Devon Williams are the only players retained after their Lions victory a fortnight ago.
Centre Wayno Visagie, who started from the bench, will get his first run in the Starting XV while Boeta Vermaak get his first start on the left wing.
Fullback Barend Smit has an opportunity to make an impact from the bench.
Stalwarts Brian Shabangu, Hilton Lobberts, Simon Wesraadt and Reynier van Rooyen have been recalled to ad some experience.
iCOLLEGE Pumas versus Welwitschias: Devon Williams; Morné Joubert, Wayno Visagie, Hennie Skorbinski ©, Boeta Vermaak; Justin van Staden, Reynier van Rooyen; Willie Engelbrecht, Hilton Lobberts, Brian Shabangu, Cameron Lindsay, Le Roux Roets, Louis Albertse, Simon Westraadt, Morgan Naudé. Reserves: Marko Janse van Rensburg, De-Jay Terblanche, Hugo Kloppers, Stefan Willemse, Abri Griesel, Chris Smith, Barend Smit.
The iCOLLEGE Pumas’ 43-35 victory in the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on Saturday over the Xerox Golden Lions which was in the balance until the last seconds, could have been a dress-rehearsal for a possible SuperSport Challenge quarter final later this season.
The Pumas kept their unbeaten record intact and should do so in their remaining two fixtures, a home fixture against the Welwitschias in two weeks’ time and an away match against the Valke in Kempton Park.
Two more victories over these opponents should secure the Pumas a home quarter final and if they and the defending champions, the Western Province, keep their losing slate clean, the Pumas could finish in second spot on the overall log.
At this stage it seems that the Lions, who the Pumas have now beaten twice in the competition phase, could finish in seventh place which could see them travel to Nelspruit once again.
The semi-finals were played at a neutral venue last season but should the Pumas advance to the final, they could host the match in Nelspruit.
Saturday’s match was a closely contested affair and with time expired they narrowly led 36-35 but the Lions made a silly mistake chasing the game which cost them a bonus point.
New centre acquisition Wayno Visagie pounced on a loose pass and scored to put the result beyond doubt.
The Pumas’ star performer was scrumhalf Stefan Ungerer whose tactical kicking was superlative and led to a super try by number eight Willie Engelbrecht.
Frankie Herne’s name for his role in the lead-up to the score must also be mentioned.
Pumas: Tries: Stefan Ungerer, Stefan Willemse, Gerrit Smit, Frankie Herne, Willie Engelbrecht, Wayno Visagie. Conversions: Justin van Staden (3), Barend Smit. Penalty: Van Staden
The iCOLLEGE Pumas have included two stalwarts, flyhalf Justin van Staden and lock Hugo Kloppers in their starting line-up to host the Lions at the Mbombela Stadium on Saturday.
Van Staden replaces an injured Christopher Smith, the top scorer in the SuperSport Challenge, and should rise up to the challenge.
The flyhalf has scored nearly 400 points in the Pumas jersey and this is his opportunity to show his mettle.
Kloppers has played nearly a 100 first class games and is a fine line-out forward.
The Pumas have also included the versatile Gerrit Smit at outside centre to replace the injured Henko Marais.
The young Sharks acquisitions, winger Morné Joubert and Wayno Visagie has also been included in the Match Day squad.
Joubert replaces an ill JP Lewis on the right wing and Visagie has been selected on the bench with another youngster, Barend Smit, who represented the Lions last season.
Pumas versus Lions: Devin Williams; Morné Joubert, Gerrit Smit, Hennie Skorbinski ©, Ruwellyn Isbel; Justin van Staden, Stefan Ungerer; Willie Engelbrecht, Nardus van der Walt, Jeandré Rudolph, Hugo Kloppers, Stefan Willemse, Marné Coetzee, Marko Janse van Rensburg, De-Jay Terblanche. Reserves: Frankie Herne, Andrew Beerwinkel, Cameron Lindsay, Hilton Lobberts, Reynier van Rooyen, Barend Smit, Wayno Visagie.
The Pumas kept their unbeaten record in this year’s SuperSport Challenge intact at Loftus Versfeld by beating the Blue Bulls 34-22 in this away fixture.
They were dominating the match for at the first hour and were leading 34-12 before a late fightback by the Light Blues.
They set a few milestones in this victory:
- Their 213 points scored in their five matches is second only to Griquas in the competition this far;
- They have also conceded only 87 points in the competition, second to Western Province;
- Their defensive record – they have only let 13 tries in – is also the second best in the comp so far;
- They have the third best try-scoring record at this stage;
- Christopher Smith is the top point scorer in the competition so far with 60;
- Ruwellyn Isbel is the second top try scorer so far with eight, and
- Smith has kicked ten penalties, seven more than any other player in the competition.
Pumas: Tries: Ruwellyn Isbel (2), Marko Janse van Rensburg, Trompie Pretorius. Conversions: Christopher Smith (3), Justin van Staden. Penalties: Smith (2).