Report by David van der Merwe
WP hosted the 7th placed Pumas at Newlands. WP needed to win with a 4 try bonus point or a 14 point margin to make it into the semi-final. The Pumas were playing their last. Premier division game as they are relegated to the 1st division next year. WP still struggling with injuries to some key players welcomed back 6 of their Springboks to the match day 22.
Jean de Villiers opened the scoring for WP in the 4th minute with a beautiful try converted by Dimitri Catrakilis. This was followed by Deon Fourie going over and Catrakilis again added the 2 extra's. The Pumas however showed that they can compete and scored an unconverted try through Jaco Bouwer. Catrakilis and Carl Bezuidenhout exchanged penalties before Juan de Jongh went over under the posts. This came as he ran a brilliant line of de Villiers and showed his side step. De Jongh celebrated with his well known jig, but I doubt if it will land him a spot on "Dancing with the Stars".
WP went in at the break leading 24-8 knowing that they were now in semi-final territory. The 4th try would just secure it. The Pumas changed their jerseys as has become custom.
After the break the Pumas attacked the breakdowns with vigour resulting in a 52nd minute penalty by Bezuidenhout. Allister Coetzee introduced Schalk Burger before he had to make some vital changes as Catrakilis suffered an injury. With no flyhalf replacement Conrad Jantjes came on moving Gio Aplon to 10.
The move proved to be a good one as Aplon switched play sending Siya Kolisi over for the important bonus point try. This securing WP 41 log points and the final semi-final position. Aplon then put JJ Engelbrecht away with an inside pass for his try and putting the game beyond any doubt. Pumas' replacement RW Kember scored their second try with 10 minutes to go. Bryan Habana scored the final try with a minute to go to end the game 43-18.
WP 43 - Tries: Jean de Villiers, Deon Fourie, Juan de Jongh, Siya Kolisi, JJ Engelbrecht, Bryan Habana. Conversions: Demetri Catrakilis (3), Conrad Jantjes (2). Penalty: Catrakilis.
Pumas 18 - Tries: Jaco Bouwer, RW Kember. Conversion: Carl Bezuidenhout. Penalties: Bezuidenhout (2)