Currie Cup

Pumas outclass Lions in near-perfect start to Currie Cup campaign

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Etienne Taljaard scores for the Pumas (Gallo)
Etienne Taljaard scores for the Pumas (Gallo)

With the Springboks camped in Bloemfontein preparing for the upcoming British & Irish Lions series, the Currie Cup was supposed to get off to a low-key start in Nelspruit on Friday night.

The Pumas, though, had other ideas and they ran in five tries to beat the Lions 39-10 and make a statement of intent in the tournament opener. 

Pumas flyhalf Eddie Fouche further enhanced his reputation with another polished display, kicking 14 points and setting up a try as the hosts gave a stern reminder of their credentials. 

The Lions, however, were poor for large parts of the contest despite showing early promise.

In the end, the Lions scored just one try and the Pumas were largely comfortable in a win that they will hope sets the tone for the rest of the competition. 

The Lions had hit the front through a try from flank Sibusiso Sangweni, which was converted by Fred Zeilinga, before two penalties from Fouche narrowed the gap to 7-6 in favour of the visitors.

A Zeilinga penalty on 33 minutes then extended the lead to 10-6 in favour of the Lions, but a moment of creativity in the form of a grubber from Fouche saw Pumas wing Ettiene Taljaard dot down for his side's first try. 

Then, on the stroke of half-time, a dominant rolling maul from the Pumas saw hooker Simon Westraadt go over to give his side an 18-10 lead going into the break. 

That momentum continued after the restart with the Pumas dominating the entire second period. 

They ran in three further tries through No 8 Willie Engelbrecht, replacement front-rower Dewald Maritz and replacement scrumhalf Ginter Smuts.

The Pumas, for their dominance, were rewarded with a four-try bonus point as the Lions left empty-handed but with much to ponder. 


Pumas 39 (18)

Tries: Etienne Taljaard, Simon Westraadt, Willie Engelbrecht, Dewald Maritz, Ginter Smuts

Conversions: Eddie Fouche (4)

Penalties: Fouche (2)

Lions 10 (10)

Try: Sibusiso Sangweni

Conversion: Fred Zeilinga

Penalty: Zeilinga

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