Preview: EP Kings v Pumas

Date published: October 9 2014

The Eastern Province Kings welcome the Pumas to Port Elizabeth for their final Currie Cup match of the season on Friday.

The Eastern Province Kings welcome the Pumas to Port Elizabeth for their final Currie Cup match of the season on Friday.

After being awarded a spot in the competition through political means, the Kings have disappointed throughout and have only a solitary championship point to show for their efforts – achieved after losing 25-30 to the Blue Bulls at Loftus Versfeld at the end of August.

Conversely, the Pumas have been one of the surprise packages in this year’s Currie Cup and still have a mathematical chance of qualifying for the semi-finals should other results go in their favour.

Jimmy Stonehouse’s side is currently four points behind the fourth-placed Blue Bulls and two behind the Free State Cheetahs in fifth, who take on Griquas and the Lions respectively on Saturday.

Although a semi-final berth is unlikely to come to fruition for the Pumas, finishing in sixth place on the table having recorded victories over the Cheetahs home and away and triumphing against the Sharks in Nelspruit is to be commended nonetheless.

Stonehouse was forced to make two changes to the side that lost to the Bulls last week after Jaco Bouwer (back) and Renaldo Bothma (broken cheek bone) was ruled out through injury. Their replacements for the Friday’s match at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium will be flanker Brian Shabangu and eighth man RW Kember.

The Kings, too, are forced into changes after props CJ van der Linde (toe) and Charles Marais (broken thumb) were ruled out, with BG Uys and Simon Kerrod coming into the starting XV for them.

Captain on the day Darron Nell and full-back Scott van Breda has also been promoted from the bench and Siviwe Soyiswapi is moved from full-back to wing.

Prediction: The Kings will undoubtedly be motivated for their final match of the season and will be eager to finish a disappointing year on a high. The Pumas have been playing far superior rugby for the majority of the season and still have all to play for going into the final week’s fixtures. The Pumas to win by five points!

EP Kings: 15 Scott van Breda, 14 Ronnie Cooke, 13 Tim Whitehead, 12 Shane Gates, 11 Siviwe Soyizwapi, 10 Gary van Aswegen, 9 Tobie Botes, 8 Tim Agaba, 7 Devin Oosthuizen, 6 Paul Schoeman, 5 Cameron Lindsay, 4 Darron Nell (captain), 3 BG Uys, 2 Martin Ferreira, 1 Simon Kerrod.
Replacements: 16 Edgar Marutlulle, 17 Charl du Plessis, 18 Lizo Gqoboka, 19 Steven Cummins, 20 Thembelani Bholi, 21 Jaco Grobler, 22 Ntabeni Dukisa.

Pumas: 15 Corne Fourie, 14 Frank Herne, 13 Vincent Koch, 12 Lubabalo Mtyanda, 11 Marius Coetzer, 10 Corne Steenkamp (c), 9 Brian Shabangu, 8 RW Kember, 7 Reynier van Rooyen, 6 Justin van Staden, 5 Rosko Specman, 4 Stefan Watermeyer, 3 JW Jonker, 2 JW Bell, 1 Coenie van Wyk
Replacements: 16 Francois du Toit, 17 DeJay Terblanche, 18 Frikkie Spies, 19 Uzair Cassiem, 20 Dylon Frylinck, 21 JC Roos, 22 Jerome Pretorius.

Date: Friday, October 10
Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Kickoff: 19:10 local (18:10 GMT)
Referee: Marius Jonker
Assistant Referees: Christie du Preez, Tahla Ntshakaza
TMO: Jason Jaftha