Currie Cup

Powerful Pumas hammer toothless young Lions with something to spare

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Pumas skipper Phumzile Maqondwana. (Photo by Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images)
Pumas skipper Phumzile Maqondwana. (Photo by Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images)

Without ever hitting top gear, the Pumas continued their recent dominance over the Lions in the Currie Cup after claiming an efficient 50-9 victory at Ellis Park on Wednesday afternoon.

Given the nature of the hallowed domestic competition - now in a January to June window - this was a match that the men from Nelspruit had to target for log points, particularly after the Lions' decision to split their squads.

As a result, the Pumas faced opponents that offered little resistance in general.

Despite the emphatic scoreline, they will be disappointed with several try-scoring opportunities being left unused when they actively took initiative to attack, either through poor handling or inaccuracy at the breakdowns.

That flaw can probably be laid at the door of some early-season rust and coach Jimmy Stonehouse shouldn't be too perturbed.

What the Pumas did do well was show some class and composure on the counter-attack and under pressure, smothering the initially nippy youth team and forcing them into mistakes before displaying the necessary incisiveness to punish those slip-ups.

Fullback Devon Williams' opening try came from a turnover with the Lions on the prowl, scrumhalf Lucky Dlepu quickly finding midfielder Sebastian de Klerk, who launched a fine, uncontested kick forward.

Dlepu, a former Sharks youth product, was at it again when a quick tap allowed flanker Daniel Maartens to run in from close range.

Experienced hooker Corne Fourie then started the Pumas' feast from the maul as his try put the visitors out of sight already by half-time and, aware that they need not over-exert themselves, were happy to follow the same recipe in the second half, leading to scores for replacements Simon Raw, Llewellyn Classen and Brandon Valentyn.

Tinus de Beer, who had a good game at pivot, had the distinction of puncturing the Lions defence from longer range though the hosts' organisation was so bad in that instance that he could basically walk through.

For the Lions, this result has the potential to derail their campaign as early as the first week.

While no one is expecting a squad that basically amounts to an Under-23 team to reach heady heights, they will need to find the confidence and steel to learn from this hammering, even if it's just for these players to gain constructive experience and respectability.

But this wayward showing - a far cry from a creditable effort against Western Province - featuring some shocking line-out play, a pedestrian start for former Puma halfback Ginter Smuts and no cohesiveness on attack, can't be repeated.   

Point scorers:

Lions - 9 (6)

Penalties: Vaughen Isaacs (3)

Pumas - 50 (24)

Tries: Devon Williams, Daniel Maartens, Corne Fourie, Tinus de Beer, Simon Raw, Llewellyn Classen, Brandon Valentyn

Conversions: De Beer (6)

Penalty: De Beer

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