Stonehouse surprises with flyhalf for Sharks showdown
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Jimmy Stonehouse can never be accused of being conservative.
The seasoned Pumas coach has produced another bolter when he named his team to face the Sharks in a Super Rugby Unlocked Round Four encounter in Nelspruit on Saturday.
Stonehouse named University of Pretoria flyhalf Theo Boshoff in the starting XV, as the Mpumalanga team goes in search of their second win of the season.
The horrible hip injury suffered by the Pumas’ first-choice No.10, Eddie Fouche, in the nailbiting loss to the Stormers last week, created a vacancy at flyhalf.
It was expected that Niel Marais, who came on as a replacement last week, would start against the Sharks.
However, Stonehouse opted for the former Paarl Gymnasium greenhorn, Boshoff – who also helped the Bulls win the SA Rugby Under-21 Championship last year.
“Fiela [Boshoff] is a very talented player,” Stonehouse told @rugby365com, adding: “He can make it big in the game in the future.
“He is fast, a big boot and strong defence. He comes from a big school,” the Pumas coach said of a youngster who helped Paarl Gymnasium beat a Paul Roos team that featured current Stormers flyhalf and Springbok Damian Willemse.
“I am really excited to see what he can do with this opportunity.”
The only other change to the Pumas team is also injury-enforced – Liam Hendriks starting at loosehead prop in place of Morgan Naude.
Pumas: 15 Devon Williams, 14 Neil Maritz, 13 Erich Cronje, 12 Wayne van der Bank, 11 Etienne Taljaard, 10 Theo Boshoff, 9 Ginter Smuts, 8 Jeandre Rudolph, 7 Willie Engelbrecht, 6 Francois Kleinhans, 5 Pieter Jansen van Vuren (captain), 4 Darrien Landsberg, 3 Ruan Kramer, 2 AJ Le Roux, 1 Liam Hendriks.
Replacements – from: 16 Marko Janse van Rensburg, 17 Stephan de Jager, 18 Brandon Valentyn, 19 Phumzile Maqondwana, 20 Chriswill September, 21 Niel Marais, 22 Ali Mgijima, 23 Dewald Maritz, 24 Daniel Maartens, 25 HP van Schoor, 26 Kwanda Dimaza.
Date: Saturday, October 31
Venue: Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
Kick-off: 16.30 (14.30 GMT)
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistant referees: Cwengile Jadezweni, Egon Seconds
TMO: Marius Jonker