Preview: EP Kings v Pumas

Date published: August 20 2015

The Eastern Province Kings will look to build on their previous clash the Pumas when these sides meet again in Port Elizabeth on Friday.

The home side returned to Currie Cup Premier Division action in 2014, after a 12-year absence, and after losing all nine of their previous matches in last year's tournament they beat the Pumas 26-25 in Port Elizabeth to secure their only win in their final match during the league phase of the tournament.

The Pumas will therefore be out for revenge but are also keen to get their campaign back on track. The men from Nelspruit claimed a 33-24 win over the Sharks at home, in their season opener, but suffered a 44-27 loss to the Golden Lions in their next match.

Pumas coach MJ Mentz expects another tough battle in Port Elizabeth.

“The Kings in PE is never easy and last year’s match didn’t go well for us, we won’t underestimate them and they have shown their character against the Sharks,” he told Sport24.

“If they hold onto the ball they are dangerous on attack so we know we have a tough task at hand.

“It is a must win for us and we want to get our season back on track following Friday’s defeat to the Lions.”

Mentz has made three changes to his starting line-up after last weekend's loss in Johannesburg. Jason-Colin Fraser replaces Lambert Groenewald at number eight, while Rudi Matthee (lock) and Corné Fourie (prop) are also elevated to the run-on side. Mathee takes over from Giant Mtyanda, who drops down to the bench and Fourie replaces De-Jay Terblanche. 

Despite being winless after two matches, the Kings will be brimming with confidence after an impressive performance in their last outing against the Sharks in Durban.

They suffered a 33-25 loss but secured a try-scoring bonus point. Their main attacking threat was their number eight Tim Agaba, who delivered a man of the match performance.

Agaba gained 110 metres with ball in hand was rewarded with a try for his efforts. The Pumas will have to keep him quiet if they want to be successful.

UPDATE: The EP Kings will be without captain Luke Watson after he suffered a leg injury during training.

Prediction: Even though the Kings are at home, the Pumas shouldn't have any problems in securing the win. Pumas to win by six points.

The teams:

Eastern Province Kings (Revised): 15 Scott van Breda, 14 Siyanda Grey, 13 Ronnie Cooke, 12 JP du Plessis, 11 Luther Obi, 10 Karlo Aspeling, 9 Enrico Acker, 8 Tim Agaba, 7 Jacques Engelbrecht, 6 Thembelani Bholi, 5 Cornell Hess, 4 Steven Sykes (c), 3 Tom Botha, 2 Martin Ferreira, 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Replacements: 16 Edgar Marutlulle, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Simon Kerrod, 19 Stefan Willemse, 20 Paul Schoeman, 21 Kevin Luiters, 22 Hansie Graaff.

Pumas: 15 JW Bell, 14 Bernado Botha, 13 Jerome Pretorius, 12 Stefan Watermeyer (captain), 11 Rosco Spekman, 10 JC Roos, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Jason-Colin Fraser, 7 Uzair Cassiem, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Marius Coetzer, 4 Rudi Matthee, 3 Khwezi Mona, 2 Frank Herne, 1 Corné Fourie.
Replacements: 16 Francois du Toit, 17 De-Jay Terblanche, 18 Giant Mtyanda, 19 Jaco Bouwer, 20 Reynier van Rooyen, 21 Justin van Staden, 22 Hoffmann Maritz.

Date: Friday, August 21
Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Kick-off: 19:00 (17:00 GMT)
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistant referees: Jason Jaftha, Ruhan Meiring