Pumas have a winning recipe

Sat, 19 Oct 2013 12:57
Large jimmy stonehouse h s Large pumas celebrate2 Large jimmy stonehouse smiles

The First Division champions, the Pumas, know what they need to do if they want to play in the Currie Cup Premier Division next year.

The First Division champions, the Pumas, know what they need to do if they want to play in the Currie Cup Premier Division next year.

Griquas narrowly beat the Pumas 21-19 in the first of two promotion-relegation matches in Kimberley on Friday.

The hosts struggled until the final whistle, with flank 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.

The Pumas would travel back to Nelspruit to prepare for their all-important return encounter next Friday.

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 would have to give their all to return to the Premier Division.

They did, however, bag a crucial bonus point in the Kimberley encounter, which meant they have to beat Griquas next Friday and prevent the visitors from gaining a bonus point, to gain promotion.

If the sides were to 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. Come Friday we need to be at our very best."

The Pumas were the better side at the breakdowns and were able to frustrate Griquas by slowing down their possession.

They were also able to counter-ruck very well.

"It is something that has been one of our strong points throughout the whole season," Stonehouse said.

"It is something we will build on, but we will also have to be better in other areas. We have to look after the ball better.

"There were some instances where our players were held up they resulted in turnovers. That needs to be rectified."

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Team P W D L Pts
Free State Cheetahs 7 7 0 0 34
Blue Bulls 8 6 0 2 30
Sharks 7 5 0 2 25
Western Province 7 4 0 3 23
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Pumas 7 0 0 7 5
EP Kings 7 0 0 7 1