Western province manager Jerome Paarwater was absolutely thrilled with his captain’s effort Nama Xabawho was in excellent form and deservedly named man of the match when he beat the Pumas 23-17 in the Currie Cup game in Mbombela on Friday night.
It was only the province’s second win of the campaign, while the result was a blow to the Pumas’ efforts to enter the competition play-offs.
The province enjoyed a decent first half, but it was in the second half that it remained under siege for the most part, that Xaba lived up to the occasion with a stunning performance to collapse.
He consistently stole the ball and made an absolute threat whenever the Pumas were up front in a good position and managed to interrupt their play just enough to not allow them to take over.
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“He’s a smart guy with a very good work ethic. He spends an hour after each training session working on his he exhaustion job and you have seen (against the Pumas) how he has paid off for him. He’s the only guy I give full freedom to go get the ball, ”Paarwater explained.
“But he’s really a classy kid, I’ve known him since he was 18, he worked in the U21s with him and the good thing is he’s putting pressure on Deon Fourie and that’s what the Stormers guys want. For our kids to put their kids under pressure.
“He is also a great leader on and off the pitch and we are lucky to have him.”
Overall it was an extremely difficult match for Province, with them coming under enormous pressure in the second half, with them having to rely heavily on their defense and Xaba’s ball-stealing skills to get them out of trouble over and over again.
So it could have been an extremely controversial end of the match as with less than a minute left in the clock the Pumas kicked the ball into the province at 22 meters and the spotlights went out due to the shedding of the load.
The province had picked up the ball and in the dark was then penalized for going out, giving the Pumas a penalty in their 22m.
After the lights returned a few minutes later, the match resumed with the Pumas kicking in the corner but were unable to capitalize as another turn over ended the match.
“It was tough but I think it was a good rugby match and we really needed this result,” admitted Paarwater.
“There was a minute left when the lights went out and we thought it was an easy exit because the lights are out and the game was stopped with us leading. But we were sporty and we said we would continue to play ”.