It was a tight game, a strategic game that was very even. But they were able to convert from their mauls and we weren’t efficient enough at line-out time.
GRIQUAS shot themselves in the foot in their third round Carling Currie Cup fixture at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on Friday, when they went down 26-22 to the Pumas who for their part recorded their second victory of the competition .
The Kimberley team had given a good account of themselves in the first half and went to the break 16-15 ahead, but poor line-out throw-ins, slow backup from forwards, tardy cleaning out from set pieces and slow passing at the breakdowns ultimately proved the undoing of the peacock blues.
Griqua coach Scott Mathie was disappointed that Griquas did not make better use of their chances in the game. “We didn’t do our set-piece part … I think that was the difference between the two teams. (Had) we scored from one of our five-meter line-outs and got a line-out maul then we (would have won) the game.
“But they actually scored two and we could not capitalise on opportunities we had in the set-piece close to their line. That’s really the difference,” Mathie told the DFA after the match.
A few questions need to be asked of the Griqua team who just last week were rampant against the Cheetahs. Questions like, Why do Griquas seem unable to scrum consistently, especially on the tight-head side? There was some disruption in the front row due to a covid scare, but this scrum problem has been around for about three seasons now.
Another glaring problem is that Griquas once again gave a try away by over-throwing at the line-out. And we also have to wonder how the team can field a fullback who is out of position on defence, cannot tackle and seems scared to run with the ball unless there is an open field ahead of him?
Although Friday’s score seems close, the try tally tells the tale with the Pumas outsourcing their visitors by three tries to one. It was only thanks to the kicking of George Whitehead that kept Griquas in the game with his accurate boot.
However, the Griqua coach says he is aware of where the problems crept in. “It was a tight game, a strategic game that was very even. But they were able to convert from their mauls and we weren’t efficient enough at line-out time.”
Griquas seemed unable to cope with opposition kick-offs and one would have thought that the good try from Jay Cee Nel just before half-time when he read the game well to intercept on the halfway line and run in a try under the poles would have given the team a lift, but the contrary proved to be true.
Griqua scrumhalf Stefan Ungerer, who is a good player, was not cleaning up behind his forwards quickly enough. He seemed to be telegraphing his intentions because when a scrum-half stands upright behind the rolling maul, it is obvious to the opposition that the backline will not be receiving the ball and the Pumas could therefore concentrate on stopping the maul, committing all their forwards.
One Griqua supporter described Friday’s game as “a very disappointing performance” saying that constantly playing catch-up rugby simply does not work.
The Pumas ended the match with a strong defensive effort to hold out their desperate opponents and claimed the full four-points with Griquas returning home licking their wounds with only a losing bonus point to show for all their troubles.
The Kimberley team will have to improve quite a bit before they travel down to the Cape to take on the DHL Stormers in Cape Town on Wednesday in a game starting at 3.45pm.
Pumas: – Tries: Matt More, Simon Westraadt (2), Conversions: Eddie Fouché, Penalties: Fouché (3)
Griquas: – Try: Jay-Cee Nel, Conversion: George Whitehead, Penalties: Whitehead (5)