The Steval Pumas needed a last-gasp penalty to edge past the Vodacom Blue Bulls 44-42 (half-time 31-23) in their Vodacom Cup match at Loftus Versfeld B field in Pretoria on Saturday.
The Pumas had seemingly been in control of the match as they stretched their lead to 41-23 with 13 minutes left to play.
But Pumas outside centre Wilmaure Louw was sin-binned which heralded the start of a fightback from the Blue Bulls.
Two tries for the Blue Bulls through replacement forward Roelof Smit and left wing Sampie Mastriet narrowed the gap to 41-37 with seven minutes left to play and the hosts finally looked to have sealed a magnificent fightback when right wing Travis Ismaiel nipped over for an unconverted try with one minute left to play. However, flyhalf Tony Janties crucially missed with his conversion attempt.
The Blue Bulls held a 42-41 lead but with the hooter having already sounded Pumas replacement flyhalf Carl Bezuidenhout stepped up to slot the winning penalty to seal the nailbiting win.
Jantjies ended the match with 17 points courtesy of four conversions and three penalties while Blue Bulls outside centre Dries Swanepoel crossed for a brace of tries.
The Pumas ran in six tries of their own to claim their second consecutive win of the season after beating the Valke 62-0 in their first match of the season.
The first half, played in front of 500 people, was a ding-dong affair with the Pumas opening up a 12-3 lead inside 12 minutes.
But the Bulls struck back through a converted try from Swanepoel and a Jantjies penalty but two tries from lock Marius Coetzer and tighthead prop Ivann Espag looked to have given the Pumas the upper hand in the half before Swanepoel dotted down again with two minutes left in the half.
However, in keeping with the general theme of the match the Pumas scored as the half-time hooter sounded thanks to a try from left wing Rosco Speckman.
Vodacom Blue Bulls - Tries: Dries Swanepoel (2), Roelof Smit, Sampie Mastriet, Travis Ismaiel; Conversions: Tony Jantjies (4); Penalties: Jantjies (3).
Steval Pumas – Tries: Stefan Watermeyer, Vincent Kock, Marius Coetzer, Ivann Espag, Rosco Speckman, Renaldo Bothma; Conversions: Tiaan Marx (4); Penalties: Marx, Carl Bezuidenhout. .