Flanker Uzair Cassiem ran in three tries as the Steval Pumas humiliated the Valke 62-0 (halftime 36-0) in their opening match of the Vodacom Cup at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on Saturday.
Cassiem’s hat-trick was the highlight of a 10-try exhibition by the home side which also saw prop Vincent Koch and substitute Jaco Bouwer each claim a brace.
Flyhalf Tiaan Marx, who also got his name on the try-scorer’s sheet, accounted for the other 12 points as he was successful with six of his conversion opportunities.
The Valke simply had no answer to the carnage, and two missed penalties on the day from flyhalf Wesley Aidan Roberts compounded their misery.
The match had been delayed by more than half an hour as lightning in the area persisted well past the scheduled 3pm kickoff.
However, when play eventually began it was the visitors who had the chance to open the scoring as the Pumas conceded a penalty in the very first minute.
Roberts, however, was unable to take advantage from the kicking tee, and Koch made the Valke pay six minutes later as he scored his first try of the day.
Cassiem then got in on the action as he crossed the line four minutes later, but Roberts again had the chance to convert a three-pointer soon after.
His ensuing miss proved to be the catalyst for the hosts though, as Marx scored before Koch claimed his second in the 30th minute to wrap up the bonus point.
Two further tries in the final minutes before halftime meant the Pumas went into the break already out of sight with a 36-point lead, and when Cassiem then got over the line six minutes into the second half to complete his hat-trick, the writing was on the wall.
Bouwer, who had been brought on after halftime, capped off a well-worked move in the 60th minute to score his first try, and Marx’s ensuing conversion saw the home side breach the fifty-point mark.
The rout was complete when lock DJ Terblanche added his name to the list of try-scorers, before Bouwer secured his brace three minutes from time.
The win for the Pumas leaves them behind the Sharks XV at the top of the standings on points difference only, while the reverse for the Valke leaves them languishing second from bottom.
Steval Pumas – Tries: Vincent Koch (2), Uzair Cassiem (3), Tiaan Marx, Wilhelm Loock, Jaco Bouwer (2), DJ Terblanche. Coversions: Tiaan Marx (6).
Valke: – None.