Steval Pumas first-time Vodacom Cup champions – Final Review

May 31 • General News, Vodacom Cup • 3579 Views • No Comments on Steval Pumas first-time Vodacom Cup champions – Final Review

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Photo: Werner Nysschen Photography

A new Vodacom Cup champion was crowned in Cape Town on Saturday afternoon when the Steval Pumas lifted the coveted trophy for the first time ever. The Lowvelders, coached by former Springbok Sevens player MJ Mentz, became the eighth team to win this competition since its inception in 1998.

 

The Steval Pumas completed a remarkable run in their three playoff matches – they beat the Vodacom Cup champions of 2012, 2013 and 2014 on three consecutive weekends away from home.

 

On Saturday, they upset the odds yet again by beating DHL Western Province, the only unbeaten team left in the competition, in the final. The scoreline of 24-7 suggests it was a walk in the park for the Steval Pumas, but they had to dig deep and showed the value of playing knock-out rugby with experienced players.

 

And as they did in the semi-final last weekend, big lock Rudi Mathee scored a try for the visitors and livewire flanker Marnus Schoeman added a brace of five-pointers.

 

Although he could only add four points to his overall tally, Steval Pumas flyhalf JC Roos finished the season as the top points scorer with 115 – the only player in 2015 to surpass 100 competition points – while SWD Eagles speedster Alshaun Bock scored the most tries, with eight.

 

Schoeman, courtesy of his four tries in the last two matches, ended second on the list of try scorers with seven, while DHL WP’s Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Kefentse Mahlo of the Vodacom Blue Bulls, Martin Sithole of the Down Touch Griffons and the Hino Valke duo of Riaan Arends and Anrich Richter all scored six tries

 

DHL Western Province 7 Steval Pumas 24

 

The Steval Pumas were crowned Vodacom Cup champions after they completed a 24-7 (halftime 19-0) win over DHL Western Province in the final at DHL Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday.

 

The win saw the Lowvelders secure their first Vodacom Cup title after they were losing finalists in 2013 and they upset the form book as they inflicted the first defeat of the season on the Capetonians, the 2012 champions.

 

The Nelspruit-based Steval Pumas ran in three first-half tries while their defensive work throughout the match was immense. DHL WP were stymied by their inability to string together any meaningful passages of play.

 

The helter-skelter opening exchanges saw both teams’ flyhalves miss early penalty attempts but the Steval Pumas’ forwards were starting to gain ascendency and they finally took advantage when flank Marnus Schoeman flopped over the tryline for an unconverted score after a powerful maul that gained 22 metres.

 

The heavy conditions underfoot were forcing both teams to keep the ball among the forwards and DHL Western Province turned down two kickable penalties in favour of kicking for the corner to set up attacking lineouts.

 

However, the decision backfired as the Pumas’ defence held on both occasions while the visitors were winning the battle at the breakdown as Province conceded five turnovers in the first half.

 

DHL Western Province were left rueing their decision to turn down the kickable penalties when the Steval Pumas turned defence into attack as lock Rudi Mathee took an inside pass from pivot JC Roos, after good work in the build up from scrumhalf Reynier van Rooyen, before cantering over for a converted try in the 31st minute.

 

The Pumas’ forwards continued to dominate the contest and a lineout five metres from the host’s tryline resulted in loosehead prop Khwezi Mona diving over from close range for his first Vodacom Cup try. Roos nailed the touchline conversion as the Pumas eased to a 19-0 lead with two minutes left in the half.

 

Province finally got on the scoreboard after 11 minutes of the second half when they were awarded a penalty try after Schoeman was yellow carded for a pulling a maul down with Province just short of the Pumas tryline.

 

Despite their numerical advantage the hosts were unable to break down the superb Steval Pumas’ defence. The visitors finally made sure of the win when Schoeman was mauled over for his second try with just seconds left in the game.

 

Scorers:

 

DHL Western Province – Try: Penalty try. Conversion: Robert du Preez.

 

Steval Pumas – Tries: Marnus Schoeman (2), Rudi Mathee, Khwezi Mona. Conversions: JC Roos (2).

 

Final Logs

 

North Section

Pos

Team

P

W

D

L

PF

PA

PD

TF

TA

BPts

Pts

1

Xerox Golden Lions

7

7

0

0

279

108

171

38

15

5

33

2

Vodacom Blue Bulls

7

6

0

1

282

114

168

40

11

5

29

3

Steval Pumas

7

5

0

2

263

114

149

32

13

4

24

4

Leopards XV

7

4

0

3

208

217

-9

28

28

4

20

5

Hino Valke

7

3

0

4

213

200

13

31

25

7

19

6

Down Touch Griffons

7

2

0

5

160

286

-126

23

40

3

11

7

FNB Welwitschias

7

1

0

6

94

285

-191

13

41

3

7

8

Assupol Limpopo Blue Bulls

7

0

0

7

115

290

-175

11

43

1

1

 

South Section

Pos

Team

P

W

D

L

PF

PA

PD

TF

TA

BPts

Pts

1

DHL Western Province

7

7

0

0

188

103

85

23

11

4

32

2

GWK Griquas

7

6

0

1

205

138

67

24

16

4

28

3

Toyota Free State XV

7

4

0

3

215

170

45

28

17

6

22

4

SWD Eagles

7

4

0

3

193

137

56

21

16

4

20

5

EP Kings

7

3

0

4

181

162

19

26

18

5

17

6

Cell C Sharks XV

7

2

0

5

180

165

15

24

22

3

11

7

Border Bulldogs

7

1

0

6

104

206

-102

11

28

2

6

8

Boland Cavaliers

7

1

0

6

105

290

-185

15

44

1

5

 

Top scorers

 

Player Team

Tries

Conv

Pen

Drops

Tot

JC Roos Steval Pumas

2

24

20

0

118

Kobus Marais Vodacom Blue Bulls

2

21

11

0

85

Elric van Vuuren SWD Eagles

0

16

16

0

80

Jean-Luc Du Plessis DHL Western Province

0

15

13

0

69

Jaun Kotze Hino Valke

1

23

4

0

63

Gouws Prinsloo GWK Griquas

0

12

12

0

60

Ashlon Davids Xerox Golden Lions

3

14

4

0

55

Anton Beswick Assupol Limpopo Blue Bulls

0

8

13

0

55

Coenie van Wyk Toyota Free State XV

2

10

4

0

42

Alshaun Bock SWD Eagles

8

0

0

0

40

Adriaan Engelbrecht Leopards XV

1

14

2

0

39

Shaun Kaizemi FNB Welwitschias

2

7

4

0

36

Marnus Schoeman Steval Pumas

7

0

0

0

35

Kobus du Plessis Leopards XV

2

6

4

0

34

Jaco van der Walt Xerox Golden Lions

1

10

3

0

34

Robert du Preez DHL Western Province

2

7

3

0

33

Masixole Banda Border Bulldogs

0

2

9

0

31

Sikhumbuzo Notshe DHL Western Province

6

0

0

0

30

Riaan Arends Hino Valke

6

0

0

0

30

Kefentse Mahlo Vodacom Blue Bulls

6

0

0

0

30

Anrich Richter Hino Valke

6

0

0

0

30

Martin Sithole Down Touch Griffons

6

0

0

0

30

Justin van Staden Steval Pumas

0

9

4

0

30

Niel Marais Toyota Free State XV

0

9

4

0

30

 

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