The Griffons run afoul of a better-prepared Pumas team
The NNC Pumas’ hard work on the training field paid off when they defeated the Down Touch Griffons 58-17 on Friday afternoon.
The preseason friendly was played at Mbombela Stadium. The kick-off temperature was 32 degree Celsius.
The Pumas were too big, too strong and too fit for the visitors from Welkom.
The home team ran in 10 tries to the Griffons’ three.
The score could have been higher, but Eddie Fouché was rusty with his goal kicking. He succeeded with two out of eight attempts at goal.
The Griffons never gave up and played with courage and spirit, but the Pumas executed their game plan well and their level of play was simply too high for the away team.
The Pumas showed some match rust, but their forwards were still too powerful and their backs too slick for the Griffons in the first half.
The half-time score was 34-17, with Pumas hooker, Eduan Swart, claiming three tries, all off the classic penalty - touch lineout - maul moves.
The Griffons played with tenacity and determination in the second half. They held the better of the territory and possession. Despite this, they failed to score and conceded four tries in the second half.
The Pumas defence was much improved in the second half and a big plus was that they did not allow the Griffons, who had scored three tries with much less possession in the first half, to score in the second. It was a valiant effort.
The home side scored four tries in the second half, with less possession than they had had in the first.
The final score of 58-17 was a fair reflection of the match.
Hats off to the Griffons for giving the Pumas much-needed match time. The team left Welkom at 03:00 on Friday morning and climbed back on the buses after a post-match shower.
The NNC Pumas are patiently waiting for SA Rugby to announce what form of provincial rugby will be played this season. As soon as an announcement is made, Lowvelder will inform its readers.