Pumas and Cheetahs play to a draw in Currie Cup

Rosco Specman of the Pumas on attack

In a frantic finish to a very entertaining Currie Cup match the Pumas
held the Free State Cheetahs to a 37-37 draw in Nelspruit on Saturday.

Replacement Rudi Mathee scored the try that would allow his team to draw level
with only four minutes remaining in the match.

To cap off a splendid kicking display, fly-half Jaco Van Staden slotted the
conversion which denied the Cheetahs what looked like a certain victory after
the enterprising play they dished-up during the match.

The Pumas started positively and managed to win their first kickable penalty
in the fifth minute of the match with flawless Van Staden making no mistake
to give his side a 3-0 lead.

After coming close to scoring a try, the visitors eventually settled for a
penalty to level matters in the 15th minute.

The men from Bloemfontein would create some outstanding scoring opportunities
but failed to finish at crucial times.

For the Pumas, Van Staden kicked superbly and through his boot managed to keep
the favourites on their toes.

The first try belonged to former Pumas captain Jaco Bouwer who was moved to
openside flank for this match.

After 23 minutes, the hosts enjoyed a 13-3 lead – somewhat against the
run of play.

Territorially and at set-phase play the Cheetahs looked far sharper than their
hosts who did most of the defending in the opening quarter of the game.

It took 30-minutes for the Cheetahs to score their first try through Sergeal
Petersen while they needed just 10 for the second five-pointer to come when
Francois Venter barged over.

At the break, the Cheetahs had momentum on their side and that would remain
the case for most of the second-half.

Leading 24-13 the Free State squad extended their lead through tries by De
Wet Kruger and through they may have sealed the deal when Freddie Ngoza dived
over for their fifth of the match.

Two quick-fire tries by the Pumas – De-Jay Terblanche and Marnus Schoeman
each scoring for the home side – turned the game on its head and after
the Cheetahs were reduced to 14-men for repeated red-zone infringements, it
was only a matter of time before their defensive lines would crumble.

Final Score Pumas 37 (16) Free State Cheetahs 37(24)


Tries: Jaco Bouwer, De-Jay Terblanche, Marnus Schoeman, Rudi Mathee
Conversions: Jaco Van Staden (4). Penalties: Van Staden (3)

Free State Cheetahs
Tries: Sergeal Petersen, Oupa Mahoje, Francois Venter, De Wet Kruger, Freddie
Conversions: Sias Ebersohn (3)
Penalties: Sias Ebersohn, Niel Marais.

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