Griquas edge Pumas in Kimberley thriller

The Griquas claimed their second successive Currie Cup win with a 32-29 victory over the Pumas at Tafel Lager Park in Kimberley on Friday evening.

The Griquas started on the front foot and held possession for four minutes before opening the scoring with a beautiful individual effort from Anthony Volmink, who broke between two tackles in midfield and stepped his way superbly past Kobus Marais before running comfortably in under the posts as George Whitehead added the extras.

The Griquas were enjoying overwhelming dominance and Whitehead added another three points in the 19th minute after Pumas flanker Jeandre Rudolph was penalised for offside to extend the lead to 10-0.

However, the Pumas fought back thereafter and scored their first try in the 25th minute. The Mpumalanga-based side turned over the ball deep in Griquas' territory which allowed Morne Joubert to find space on the overlap down the right-hand side and bash past last defender Whitehead for the score. Marais missed the conversion with the score 10-5.

The hosts thought they had scored their second try in the 35th minute when Gideon van der Merwe dotted down after a series of powerful carries from the forwards but the TMO check revealed that Khwezi Mona had knocked the ball on in the build-up.

The Griquas started the second half as they started the first - in the ascendancy. After winning a penalty at scrum-time, Whitehead kicked for the corner and the hosts set up the driving maul, which made good ground. The ball was recycled through the phases before Eduan Keyter came off the left wing and ran a good inside line to scythe through the Pumas' defence untouched to dot down.

The visitors hit back immediately through Andrew Beerwinkel, who burrowed his way over from close range. But the game swung back the Griquas' way. Pumas' fly-half Marais committed a poor error, kicking the ball out on the full from inside his 22 after it was taken back.

Once again, the hosts kicked for the corner and set up their tried and trusted driving maul, which was halted just before the try-line but Ewald van der Westhuizen forced his way over the try-line with a smart pick-and-go for a 22-12 lead ten minutes in to the second half.

Marais cut the deficit to seven on the hour mark with a penalty goal after the Griquas strayed offside. But soon afterwards, the hosts took the scoreline out of the Pumas' reach once again when scrum-half Zak Burger made a wonderful sniping break and popped the ball to Andre Swarts, who completed the finish.

Soon after, the Pumas hit back as the topsy-turvy nature of the game continued. Etienne Taljaard made a scintillating break down the left wing and popped the ball on the inside to Ashlon Davids, who played the final pass for Ryan Nel to dot down.

With ten minutes to go, the Pumas levelled matters on the scoreboard at 29-29. Tinus de Beer was penalised for offside and the visitors kicked for the corner before setting up the driving maul which was brought down just a couple of metres out. The ball was recycled through the phases before Alwayno Visagie powered over from close range as Marais added the extras.

But the Kimberley side made sure of victory with a De Beer penalty and then another superb individual try from Volmink, who outsprinted the Pumas defence from the half-way line to cap off the victory in impressive style.

Griquas - Tries: Volmink 2, Keyter, Van der Westhuizen, Swarts. Cons: Whitehead 3. Pens: Whitehead, De Beer.

Pumas - Tries: Joubert, Beerwinkel, Nel, Visagie. Cons: Marais 3. Pen: Marais.

Griquas: 15 Anthony Volmink, 14 Ederies Arendse, 13 Michal Haznar, 12 Andre Swarts, 11 Eduan Keyter, 10 George Whitehead (captain), 9 Zak Burger, 8 Neill Jordaan, 7 Sias Koen, 6 Gideon van der Merwe, 5 Victor Sekekete, 4 Ian Groenewald, 3 Ewald van der Westhuizen, 2 AJ Le Roux, 1 Khwezi Mona
Replacements: 16 Wilmar Arnoldi, 17 Mox Mxoli, 18 Johan Momson, 19 Zandre Jordaan, 20 Chriswill September, 21 Tinus de Beer, 22 Bjorn Basson, 23 Ruan Kramer

Pumas: 15 Devon Williams, 14 Morné Joubert, 13 Ryan Nell (captain), 12 Henko Marais, 11 Etienne Taljaard, 10 Kobus Marais, 9 Reynier van Rooyen, 8 Willie Engelbrecht, 7 Carel du Preez, 6 Jeandré Rudolph, 5 Stefan Willemse, 4 Le Roux Roets, 3 Marné Coetzee, 2 Marko Janse van Rensburg, 1 Andrew Beerwinkel
Replacements: 16 Simon Westraadt, 17 De-Jay Terblanche, 18 Hilton Lobberts, 19 Phumzile Maqondwana, 20 Ashlon Davids, 21 Chris Smith, 22 Alwayno Visagie, 23 Morgan Naude

Referee: AJ Jacobs
Assistant referees: Ben Crouse, Johre Botha
TMO: Lourens van der Merwe