Fri 17 Jun 2022 | 03:33

Cheetahs v Pumas - teams and prediction

Cheetahs v Pumas - teams and prediction
Fri 17 Jun 2022 | 03:33
Cheetahs v Pumas - teams and prediction
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SATURDAY PREVIEW: Pumas coach Jimmy Stonehouse embraced the ‘underdog’ tag ahead of their trip to Bloemfontein on Saturday.

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The Cheetahs host the Pumas in the second semifinal of the weekend, at the Free State Stadium.

The Pumas last played in the semifinal of South Africa’s premier domestic competition 42 years ago, when they still played under the South-Eastern Transvaal banner.

The Cheetahs won the last of their six Curie Cup titles in 2019. They were also runners-up nine times.

After going nine games unbeaten and then suffering two losses in a row, the Cheetahs bounced back in impressive fashion last week to top the standings.

The Free State outfit, led superbly this season by experienced Springbok utility back Ruan Pienaar, are being given double-figure handicaps by the bookmakers – despite losing to the Pumas when the two sides last met in Bloemfontein a fortnight ago.

“We are looking forward to the challenge,” Stonehouse told @rugby365com, adding: “Not many people are giving us much of a chance.

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“We are the underdog in every publication, which suits us.”

The Nelspruit-based team’s coach feels that while his team has been playing high-quality rugby, discipline has let them down – with yellow cards in their last three matches.

“We have focussed on that [aspect] this week and the players are aware that if we can resolve those issues we have a realistic chance of pulling off a win,” Stonehouse said.

He expects a brutal contest at the breakdown and an even bigger challenge in stopping the Cheetahs’ impressive mauls – which earned then four tries in their five-try win over the Bulls last week.

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“If we can resolve our discipline issues we’ll give ourselves a real chance.

“The set pieces and [not conceding] penalties will be key,” the Pumas coach added.

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Cheetahs coach Hawies Fourie also touched on the issue of ‘discipline’ as key to the outcome of the Bloemfontein showdown.

He described last week’s 35-5 win over the Bulls as a “good knock-out exercise” ahead of the semifinals.

Fourie said the Pumas will be “more physical” that the Bulls and have playmakers with “good skills”.

Captain Ruan Pienaar also spoke about discipline and being ‘clinical in execution’.

“Turnover tries are their bread and butter,” the veteran scrumhalf said, adding that a fortnight ago two of the Pumas’ four tries came from such possession.

“If you watch the Griquas versus Pumas game from last week, they play for 80 minutes.

“They also score good tries and their attack is dangerous.

“We will have to be more clinical, especially the first 20 minutes,” the skipper said, adding that they spoke about “tightening up” a few areas.

“They have a number of game-breakers, so we have to be accurate with the ball in hand and accurate when we are asked to defend.”

He admitted they spoke about discipline in the build-up to the semifinal.

“It [discipline] hasn’t been great this season,” the skipper said, adding: “We have conceded a lot of penalties.

“When you concede 10 to 12 penalties a game it is tough to get momentum.”

Cheetahs-v-Pumas-stats-Round-13

Prediction

@king365ed: Cheetahs by nine points

Teams

Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Daniel Kasende, 13 David Brits, 12 Chris Smit, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Siyabonga Masuku, 9 Ruan Pienaar (captain), 8 Jeandre Rudolph, 7 Aidon Davis, 6 Gideon van der Merwe, 5 Victor Sekekete, 4 Rynier Bernardo, 3 Aranos Coetzee, 2 Louis van der Westhuizen, 1 Cameron Dawson.
Replacements: 16 Marnus van der Merwe, 17 Alulutho Tshakweni, 18 Marne Coetzee, 19 Ockie Barnard, 20 Andisa Ntsila, 21 Rewan Kruger, 22 Reinhardt Fortuin, 23 Robert Ebersohn.

Pumas: 15 Devon Williams, 14 Tapiwa Mafura, 13 Sebastian de Klerk, 12 Eddie Fouche, 11 Jade Stighling, 10 Tinus de Beer, 9 Chriswill September, 8 Andre Fouche, 7 Willie Engelbrecht (captain), 6 Daniel Maartens, 5 Shane Kirkwood, 4 Deon Slabbert, 3 Ignatius Prinsloo, 2 Eduan Swart, 1 Corne Fourie.
Replacements: 16 Llewellyn Classen, 17 Dewald Maritz, 18 Simon Raw, 19 Kwanda Dimaza, 20 Francois Kleinhans, 21 Giovan Snyman, 22 Ali Mgijima, 23 Alwayno Visagie.

Date: Saturday, June 18
Venue: Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Kick-off: 13.30 (11.30 GMT)
Referee: Morné Ferreira
Assistant referees: Paul Mente, Ruhan Meiring
TMO: Marius Jonker

@king365ed
@rugby365com

Currie Cup semifinal fixtures

PV: 36
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