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Pumas raid Varsity Cup ranks

TRANSFER NEWS: True to his word, Pumas coach James Stonehouse moved quickly to plug the gaps as a result of the annual exodus from Nelspruit.


The Pumas on Wednesday named a rash of new signings – including a host of Varsity Cup players.

Speaking after their heartbreaking 17-25 loss to the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein this past weekend, the sincere coach said they always expect to lose a large chunk of their resources every year.

This year it includes injured tighthead prop Ignatius Prinsloo (Sharks), star flyhalf Marthinus de Beer (Cardiff), Aliqhayiya Mgijima (Cheetahs), Diego Appollis (Sharks) and Sebastian de Klerk (Bulls) – just some of the positions he has to find replacements for in the off-season.

However, they announced nine new signings – three of those from the Varsity Cup campaigns – the NorthWest University Eagles.

There are two other Varsity Cup stars – one from the University of Johannesburg and one from the University of Stellenbosch.

The headline signings are Clinton Swart, a 30-year-old journeyman with experience of playing in Japan, and Phikolomzi Sobahle, a regular in the Sharks’ Currie Cup team this season.

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The NWU Eagles trio are captain Ruan Swiegers, scrumhalf Sylvester Hassien and wing Tino Swanepoel.

All three featured in the Varsity Cup Final win over the University of Cape Town, with Swanepoel scoring twice in the title-deciding match.

Darnell Osuagwu, who played for UJ this year, made his debut for the Pumas in the Currie Cup Final.


For a man who still played Varsity Cup earlier this year, he did not look out of place on the Currie Cup stage – a strong ball-carrier who enjoys the physical aspect of the game.

Waqar Solaan, the Maties flyer, is a skilful and fleet-footed inside centre who creates space for his teammates on the outside while also being solid on defence and dominating in contact.

Clinton Swart, with almost 100 first-class games to his credit, is a powerful utility back that plays flyhalf or inside centre.

He has represented Griquas, Cheetahs, the Bulls, as well as Japanese teams Verblitz and Blue Revs.

Tiaan de Klerk, a Namibian player, most recently featured for the Mogliano team in the Italian Top10.

His regular position is lock and the 22-year-old featured in Bulls Currie Cup squad last year.

Phikolomzi Sobahle played on the win for the Sharks in this year’s Currie Cup and started in 16 of their 14 Currie Cup outings.

Junior White, another young lock, played for the Lions in the Currie Cup last year.


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