Ross Roche

By Ross Roche

Senior sports writer

Province clinch win over Griffons, Sharks steal win over Pumas in Currie Cup

In the Pumas and Sharks game the hosts lost prop Njabulo Gumede to a red card in the 26th minute.

Western Province managed to hold on for a 25-21 win over the Griffons in their Currie Cup clash in Welkom, while the Sharks stunned the 14-man Pumas with a late comeback to steal a 24-22 win in Mbombela on Friday.

Province put in a dominant first 50 minutes to comfortably lead the Griffons 25-0 in their match, only for the hosts to score three converted tries over the last 30 minutes to make it a tight contest.

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It was a scrappy first quarter from both teams, with Province particularly guilty of missing chances, before the second quarter saw the visitors build a good lead.

A 23rd minute penalty from fullback Clayton Blommetjies was followed by two unconverted tries in the 30th and 38th minutes as flank Jarrod Taylor crashed over from close range and hooker Andre-Hugo Venter capitalised on a Griffons mistake to seize on a loose ball and power over.

Taking a 13-0 lead into the second half Province then got off to a perfect start as they attacked off the kick-off, got into the home sides 22m and then worked space for flyhalf Jean-Luc du Plessis to take an offload and cruise over for a converted score.

In the 49th minute another Griffons mistake on attack in their own half allowed scrumhalf Thomas Bursey to hack the ball ahead, pick up the ball and dive over to score, with Blommetjies missing his third kick of the night to leave them 25-0 up.

This seemed to spark the home side to life and they took advantage of a yellow card to Province prop Kwenzo Blose after a slew of penalties, as they attacked from a lineout in the 22m, before earning space out wide for wing Domenic Smit to go over for a converted try in the 58th minute.

A quickfire double, in the 68th and 71st minutes, then saw Griffons outside centre CJ Coetzee hit a gap to score, and replacement hooker HP van Schoor dot down at the back of a massive maul, with both converted by scrumhalf Jaywinn Juries to make it 25-21.

But it was too much in the end as Province held on for a vital bonus point win.

Red card

In the Pumas and Sharks game the hosts lost prop Njabulo Gumede to a red card in the 26th minute, but still went into the final five minutes leading 22-10, only for two late converted tries from the visitors to break their hearts.

It was the Sharks that got off to a flier in the match with an unconverted score to flank James Venter in the second minute of the match, but three penalties from the boot of Pumas flyhalf Tinus de Beer gave the hosts a 9-5 lead after 19 minutes.

Gumede then received his marching orders for a dangerous tackle, before De Beer had two more chances to put the Pumas further ahead at the break, but missed penalties either side of the posts as they took a four point lead into halftime.

De Beer was however back on target in the second half with a 52nd minute penalty, followed by a 60th minute drop goal putting them 15-5 up.

A yellow card to Pumas lock Shane Kirkwood for collapsing a maul in the 64th minute reduced them to 13-men, with the Sharks taking immediate advantage by powering a maul over for replacement hooker Dan Jooste to dot down and unconverted score making it 15-10.

The Pumas were undaunted and went up the other end with two men less, earned a penalty in the Sharks 22m and replacement scrumhalf Giovan Snyman quick tapped and dived over, with De Beer’s extras putting them 12 points ahead after 71 minutes.

The Pumas would have thought they had done enough going into the final five minutes, but the Sharks were saved by their replacements as flank Dylan Richardson and prop Dian Bleuler went over for tries, with fullback Nevaldo Fleurs knocking over both conversions to seal a stunning win.

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