With their scrum being shoved backwards and their lineout not functioning, the Griffons were playing on a wing and a prayer, and, with such tremendous first-phase ball, the Pumas were able to breach their defences with ease, running in six tries.
Flank Jaco Bouwer scored two tries and revelled in the wonderful platform laid by his tight five, while flyhalf JC Roos collected 13 points via five conversions and a penalty.
That penalty came in the sixth minute and opened the scoring in the North Section encounter. But a storm then approached the North-West Stadium and referee Archie Sehlako took the players off the field due to lightning danger and play was interrupted for 20 minutes.
Upon their return, it took a while for the Pumas to regain their momentum, but the educated boot of fullback Coenie van Wyk set up the first try in the 25th minute. Van Wyk’s chip was perfectly placed for wing Wilhelm Loock, who returned the favour by passing back to Van Wyk to score with the tryline in front of them.
Roos converted and the Pumas led 10-0.
The one aspect of the Griffons’ play that the Pumas never really learnt to handle were the bullocking runs of stocky centre Japie Nel in midfield and, as he kept the visitors’ defence busy trying to bring him down, eighthman Nicky Steyn was on his shoulder to take the try-scoring pass (10-5).
But the Pumas were quickly back in Griffons’ territory and wing Deon Scholtz dashed over for a try as the home side’s defence napped after a penalty was awarded against them.
As half-time approached, the Pumas pack kept driving forward and the inspirational Bouwer was the one to dot down, with Roos converting. Thunder could still be heard in the distance, but the Griffons’ players’ ears were full of the ominous sound of an approaching hiding as the visitors went into the break 22-5 up.
Referee Sehlako had to order uncontested scrums shortly after half-time as the Griffons had no more props left, which gave the home side some respite. But Sehlako was still firm in policing the outmatched hosts, yellow carding replacement scrumhalf Tertius Carse and, towards the end of the match, red-carding fullback Tertius Maarman, who had moved to halfback, for stamping.
The second half sprung to life in the last 10 minutes, with Bouwer scoring his second try on the back of the Pumas’ forward dominance, with Roos kicking the extra two points (29-5).
The Pumas did pay the penalty for again not stopping Nel in the danger area as another blazing run by the powerhouse centre set up Steyn for his second try, but the final say would be the Pumas’ as Loock, who showed great passion and pace, and captain and centre JW Jonker crossed for tries.
The other Pumas player to shine was scrumhalf Shaun Venter, who maintained a cracking pace in terms of his distribution and linking play between forwards and backs.
With the odds so heavily stacked against him, Steyn led the Griffons pack with aplomb, performing miraculous deeds from the back of the scrum as he parted the Pumas defence on a number of occasions.
GRIFFONS– Tries: Nicky Steyn (2). Conversion: Reinhardt Erwee.
FORD PUMAS – Tries: Coenie van Wyk, Deon Scholtz, Jaco Bouwer (2), Wilhelm Loock, JW Jonker. Conversions: JC Roos (5). Penalty: Roos.