The Steval Pumas secured a scrappy 13-8 (halftime 10-0) victory over DHL Western Province at Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on Friday night despite flyhalf JC Roos missing three penalty attempts, to book a place in the Vodacom Cup semifinal.
The Pumas started strongly and were awarded a penalty as early as the third minute with Western Province being penalised for dangerously lifting a player off his feet. Roos missed the easiest shot at goal to let the visitors off the hook.
But Province looked full of running as the Vodacom Cup’s leading try scorer, Devon Williams, pick up a loose ball inside his own half and broke free, side-stepping a few players but then running out of support.
Despite looking full of running, Western Province’s movement was lateral at the best of times. The 2012 champions were lucky not to be further behind at halftime as Roos seemed to have left his kicking boots at home, with the Pumas pivot missing three kicks at goal.
WP were penalised in the 19th minute when Johnny Kotze was blown up for a late tackle on his centre counter-part, Hennie Skorbinski, with Roos missing the penalty.
Roos was called on again to try and open the scoring when the WP scrum was penalised for scrumming in on the angle but the flyhalf sent the ball wide of the post, although it was a difficult attempt, eight metres inside the WP half and seven metres in from touch.
But on the half-hour mark, the Pumas opened the scoring when Roos finally found his radar and slotted his fourth attempt at goal after WP were pinned for scrumming in on the angle for the third time inside seven minutes.
The moment of the first half came just four minutes from the break when the Pumas fullback JW Bell picked up a poor pass from Roos and broke through the Province defence and side-stepped Devon Williams to go over for the first try. Roos converted to hand the home side a 10-point advantage.
Province missed a golden opportunity to get back into the match on the stroke of halftime after Rohan Kitshoff broke free after another poor lineout from the visitors. Province recycled the ball and went to the left of the field only for Johnny Kotze to lose the ball forward in the tackle just five metres from the line.
The second half was littered with whistle blasts from the referee as the sides conceded a staggering 26 handling errors, which effected the flow of the game.
Western Province finally made their mark on the scoreboard in the 63rd minute when Gary van Aswegen slotted a penalty after the Pumas had been penalised for illegal scrumming.
Just three minutes later, Giant Mtyanda was pinned for holding the ball on the ground and Van Aswegen sent the ball into touch just five metres from the try line. WP won yet another scrappy lineout and their captain, Kitshoff, broke away from the back of the resulting maul to go over the line, with the flyhalf missing the conversion.
The final 20 minutes continued in the same fashion as the first period began with a litany of errors from both sides, but a penalty from the Pumas replacement flyhalf, Coenie van Wyk, two minutes from time, secured the home side’s place in the semifinal.
Steval Pumas – Try: JW Bell; Conversion: JC Roos; Penalties: Roos, Coenie van Wyk.
DHL Western Province – Try: Rohan Kitshoff; Penalty: Gary van Aswegen.