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