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Just not good enough

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The Pumas deserved the victory as they were better for most of the game

STOPPED IN HIS TRACKS: Griqua captain AJ Coertzen runs into the solid Pumas defence during yesterday's 27-21 loss at Tafel Lager Park. Picture: Dave Alexander

From the lofty heights of humbling the log-topping Free State Cheetahs in their own backyard last week to yesterday’s humiliating defeat to the Pumas at Tafel Lager Park, the Tafel Lager Griquas find themselves with quite a few questions to answer.

Yesterday’s 27-21 loss in a hotly-contested Currie Cup Premier Division fixture left a disappointed Griqua captain AJ Coertzen saying that “unco-ordinated” play cost them the game.

At half-time the visitors had already stormed to a 24-10 lead, and though Griquas upped their game after the break, their fightback turned out to be too little too late.

The visitors came to Kimberley to play and put the pressure on the hosts right from the start, forcing Griquas to make basic mistakes time and again. Handling errors, knocking-on, losing the ball in the tackle, and missed tackles allowed the visitors the freedom to express themselves and to cross the hosts’ whitewash three times in the first half.

Griquas’ only try in the first half came from skipper and left wing Coertzen after a brilliant bit of handling by fullback Eric Zana. André Swarts slotted the conversion and later booted over a penalty.

The Pumas’ points in the first half were scored by outside centre Jerome Pretorius, flanker Christopher Cloete and loosehead prop, Khwezi Mona, all converted by flyhalf Justin van Staden.

After the break Griquas seemed to find their rhythm and restricted the Pumas to a penalty, while the hosts ran in a try by replacement scrumhalf Renier Botha and replacement flyhalf George Whitehead contributed two penalties, which gave Griquas a bonus point for ending within seven points difference, but still left them short on the scoreboard in a game they’ll feel they should have won.

Griquas assistant coach Pieter Bergh spoke to the DFA after the match and admitted that the visitors deserved the win.

“The Pumas deserved the victory as they were better than us for most of the game. We made far too many errors while on attack in the first half especially; and we did not have enough points on the board, even though we had the wind behind us.”

Bergh added that the second half was better, but not quite good enough. “In the second half, although we gave everything, we lost a number of vital line-outs while their defence was excellent on the day, which kept us under great pressure; and they were also very physical at the breakdowns.

“Tactically they were also better than us on the day, especially with the way they kicked and tried to keep the ball away from us,” said the disappointed coach.

Yesterday’s loss sees Griquas drop from third to fourth position on the rankings, while the Pumas edge a rung up to sit above the Golden Lions, who find themselves in a very unfamiliar position at the bottom of the log.

In the other Currie Cup action this weekend the Cheetahs pipped the Blue Bulls 41-40 at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday and Western Province outplayed the Lions 39-3 at Newlands on Friday.