Pumas v Western Province - teams and prediction
ROUND 11 PREVIEW: Pumas coach Jimmy Stonehouse expects ‘Western Province to throw everything but the kitchen sink at them to end a seven-match losing streak.
Despite coming off an impressive 20-10 win over the Sharks in Durban last week, Stonehouse is reluctant to accept the favourites tag.
“You can see how determined they are,” the home team’s coach told @rugby365com, adding that the addition of United Rugby Championship forwards like Ernst van Rhyn and Neethling Fouche is a clear indication of their intention.
“They are desperate to get that win, but it is our home game and we must get points out of this game if we want to stay in the play-off race.”
Stonehouse added that his team’s preparations have been disrupted by illness, with the 11-hour bus ride back from Durban a contributing factor.
The Pumas, fifth on the table with 19 points after eight matches, could overtake the fourth-placed Griquas (21 points from nine matches) with a win over Province – who are sixth with nine points.
The Pumas have conceded the fewest tries – 14 in eight games.
WP has conceded 35 tries in their eight matches this season.
Province coach Jerome Paarwater said the Pumas are still as dangerous as the team handed WP a 37-11 hiding in Cape Town last month.
“They showed against the Sharks last week how good they are,” the visiting coach said, adding that it is going to be just as tough in Nelspruit.
He spoke about the Pumas’ maul as a major threat, but said they can play an expansive game.
However, it is the educated boots of flyhalf Tinus de Beer and inside centre Eddie Fouche that gibes their backline some added sting.
Paarwater described the experience of Van Rhyn and Fouche as “huge” in this game.
“Neethling [Fouche] has been impressive in his outings [for the Stormers] in the URC and will bring that stability in an aspect that we struggled in,” the WP coach said of his team’s scrums.
WP skipper Nama Xaba said they are still “hurting” from the heavy loss to the Pumas last month.
“We know the qualities we have in our team,” Xaba said, adding: “We are focussed on getting out own game right and not repeating those errors.”
@rugby365com: Pumas by five points
Pumas: 15 Devon Williams, 14 Etienne Taljaard, 13 Alwayno Visagie, 12 Ali Mgijima, 11 Tapiwa Mafura, 10 Eddie Fouche , 9 Chriswill September, 8 Willie Engelbrecht (captain), 7 Anele Lungisa, 6 Daniel Maartens, 5 Shane Kirkwood, 4 Darrien Landsberg, 3 Ignatius Prinsloo, 2 Eduan Swart, 1 Corne Fourie.
Replacements: 16 Llewellyn Classen, 17 Dewald Maritz, 18 Simon Raw, 19 Doen Slabbert, 20 Phumzile Maqondwana, 21 Giovan Snyman, 22 Robbie Petzer, 23 Japie Kleinhans.
Replacements: 16 Hendrik van Schoor, 17 Leon Lyons, 18 Lee-Marvin Mazibuko, 19 Simon Miller, 20 Junior Pokomela, 21 Bobby Alexander, 22 Mnombo Zwelendaba, 23 Ebenezer Tshimanga.
Date: Friday, May 13
Venue: Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
Kick-off: 19.00 (17.00 GMT)
Referee: Morne Ferreira
Assistant referees: Dylen November, Local appointment
TMO: Ben Crouse