VIDEO: Pumas plan another 'Siege of Kimberley'
INTERVIEWS: It may not be on the magnitude of the event that took place during the Anglo–Boer War in the late 1800s, but as far as rugby games go this is going to be a titanic contest.
The results of the penultimate round of the Currie Cup mean it will go down to the wire in Week 14 – with a straight shoot-out between the defending-champion Pumas and 2022’s beaten finalists Griquas thrown in for good measure.
And they return to the venue of last year’s historic encounter – when the Pumas came from behind to edge Griquas 26-19 to win their first Currie Cup title, a year ago.
Despite having also beaten Griquas (28-13) in a Round Three league match this year, the Pumas – third on the standings with 36 points, one ahead of the fifth-placed Griquas – need to end a four-match losing streak.
Coach Jimmy Stonehouse spoke of the need for more decisive leadership – with poor options and execution costing them in losses to the Sharks, Western Province, Bulls and Cheetahs.
“We have made it tough for ourselves, needing to get five points out of this trip to Kimberley,” the Pumas coach said.
“We have beaten them in Kimberley and we can do it again,” he added.
“It is still in our own hands.
“We have to see if we, as a team, have that determination and guts to produce the performance that makes us worthy of a place in the play-offs.”
Griquas coach Pieter Bergh spoke about the need of his team to be more clinical in what has become a straight shootout between the two teams – the winner advances to the play-offs and the loser watches from the sidelines.
Like last year, Griquas are again playing their best rugby in the latter stage of the competition and peaking at the right time.
He said the reason for their ‘slow start’ to the season is that they don’t have any competitive games outside of the Currie Cup, which means it takes them several weeks to get rid of the ‘ring rustiness’.
(Article continues below …)
“If you look at Griquas, the next competition we play when the Currie Cup finishes this month is in March next year,” he told @rugby365com.
“That always plays a role in our sluggish starts to the season.
“The longer we are together as a group, the better we play.
“We need other competitions, we can’t just play in the Currie Cup.”
Bergh said they are ‘happy’ with the fact that it is a straight shootout between last year’s two finalists.
“We really believe we are good enough to beat them,” Bergh told @rugby365com.
“We beat them twice last year [in the league stages] and then they beat us in the Final.
“They [also] beat us in Nelspruit [28-13 in a Round Three match in March].
“We were in the contest for most of the match in Nelspruit and we are playing much better now than what we did in Week Three.
“Our aim is to get five points.”