GRIQUAS coach Pote Human has admitted much work still needs to be done by his side before they face the Pumas in the second leg of the promotion-relegation playoffs on Friday.
The hosts narrowly beat the Pumas 21-19 in the first of two matches at GWK Park in Kimberley on Friday evening.
"We beat the Pumas, but only managed to do so in the final minute. Now we have to travel all the way to Nelspruit to try and beat them at home," Human said after the game. "We experienced how difficult a side they are and now we face another huge challenge against them in the Mbombela Stadium."
The hosts struggled until the final whistle, with flanker Marnus Schoeman diving over from behind a driving maul to give Griquas the upper hand.
Up to that point, a highly motivated Pumas side had led 19-14 and looked to continue their run of form after a successful First Division competition.
Griquas were successful in the scrums and lineouts but their inability to control the ball on attack, together with all their unforced errors, made life difficult for the Kimberley-based side.
They lacked discipline -- and paid the price in the first half of the match, gifting the Pumas a 13-0 lead at the break.
"Our discipline is something that we will really have to work on," Human said. "Come Friday, the game can be won by a small points margin and we can ill afford to give away penalties within striking distance. It almost cost us dearly and we have to eliminate that."
The Pumas will travel back to Nelspruit to prepare for their all-important encounter. Having last played in the premier division in 2011 – when the format was still a top-eight and bottom-six scenario – coach Jimmy Stonehouse's charges will have to give their all to return there.
They did, however, bag a crucial bonus point in the Kimberley encounter, which means they have to beat Griquas on Friday night, and prevent the visitors from gaining a bonus point, to gain promotion.
If the sides draw level, it would come down to competition points. Should that not decide it, points difference and tries – for and against – would come into play. Otherwise, the status quo will remain.
"We had the game in our hands, but let it slip near the end. We are glad we got the bonus point though as it will make all the difference in Nelspruit," a disappointed Stonehouse said. "We need to go back this week and look at what worked and what didn't. We need to be at our best." – Sapa