Pumas thump Valke at Mbombela Stadium

In the fourth round of the inaugural SA Cup the Airlink Pumas thrashed the Valke by 86 points, securing both their highest total and biggest win margin of the season at Mbombela Stadium on Friday April 12.

The Airlink Pumas recorded their biggest win of the season thus far when they beat the Valke by 86 points at Mbombela Stadium on Friday April 12.

The men from Mpumalanga have had a perfect start to the inaugural SA Cup season. With four bonus point wins from four games, the Airlink Pumas have been nearly flawless thus far, and Saturday’s demolition of the Valke is the crown jewel of the four wins.

Ross Braude dives over for his only try of the game after picking and going from the base of the ruck. > Photos: Blake Linder

Friday’s match was a late kick-off with play getting under way at Mbombela Stadium at 19:00, but the Pumas showed no signs of any Friday night fatigue. Only one minute in, they crashed over the line courtesy of a driving maul for the first try of the match.

This seemed to set the tone for the game as they scored a second shortly thereafter, but the Valke managed to stem the flow of tries for most of the first half, even managing to notch up three points through a Keagan Fortune penalty.

Ruwald van der Merwe stretches out his left arm to score one of the Pumas’ 13 tries. > Photos: Blake Linder

The Pumas only managed three more tries after their blistering start, taking a 35-3 lead into the break with the bonus point already secured. The home side came out firing on all cylinders in the second half, though.

Their superiority shone through as they rampaged through the Valke’s defence. The Pumas added eight more tries to their tally, including a try after the hooter to round out a near perfect performance that earned them an 89-3 victory.

Jan-Henning Campher readies to take a line-out for the Pumas. > Photos: Blake Linder

It is both their highest score and their highest margin of victory for the season so far. Fleet-footed winger Phiko Sobahle was in fine form, bagging himself a hat-trick of tries. Replacement hooker Jan-Henning Campher also scored two tries on his SA Cup debut.

Furthermore, André Fouché, Darnell Osuagwu, Etienne Janeke, Theuns Pretorius, Ross Braude, Ruwald van der Merwe, Wian van Niekerk and Lundi Msenge all crossed the whitewash for tries of their own. Clinton Swart successfully completed all eight of his conversion attempts, while Brandon Thomson enjoyed a welcome return to the side with four out of five conversions after coming off the bench.

Clinton Swart had another successful game from the kicking tee. > Photos: Blake Linder

Swart has been in incredible form from the kicking tee this season. He has completed 25 out of 26 conversions with one penalty in the mix, giving him a total of 26 out of 27 kicks at a 96.3% kicking success rate.

Thomson’s return to the side was a success, as he has now completed five out of seven kicks this season. The Airlink Pumas will now travel to the Eastern Cape to take on the Border Bulldogs on Saturday April 20 in the fifth round of SA Cup fixtures.

André Fouché hands off a Valke defender while making a break for the Pumas. > Photos: Blake Linder

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