Preview: Golden Lions v Pumas

Date published: August 13 2015

The Golden Lions face a stern examination when they host the Pumas in their Currie Cup clash in Johannesburg on Friday.

Both sides made fine starts to the season when they secured impressive victories in their respective openers last weekend. 

The Golden Lions beat the Eastern Province Kings 51-14 in Port Elizabeth and the Pumas shocked their more-fancied opponents, the Sharks, when they claimed a 33-24 victory in Nelspruit.

Those results will obviously boost the confidence of both sides but the Pumas will feel they have a little more to prove. 

Despite that victory over the Sharks and their triumph in the Vodacom Cup this year, the men from Nelspruit are still regarded as minnows of the South African game and beating the Lions at Ellis Park will be a massive statement of intent from head coach MJ Mentz and his charges.

Two of the Pumas players, scrum-half Faf de Klerk and prop Corne Fourie, impressed for the Lions during their Super Rugby campaign and Mentz believes the home side will go the extra mile to negate any advantage the duo might have after their stint with the Johannesburg-based side.

“Johan Ackermann is a wily coach and I am sure he will make plans to ensure Corne and Faf don't pick up on their game-plan,” said Mentz.

“We’ve seen the type of rugby the Lions can play and we have a fairly good idea of what to expect.”

The Lions showed in their win over the Kings that they will continue with their expansive style of play which helped them to reach last year's final.

In Ruan Combrinck, Courtnall Skosan, Harold Vorster, Howard Mnisi and Sampie Mastriet they possess dangerous attackers while Marnitz Boshoff is one of the best goal-kickers in the country.

Up front, captain Jaco Kriel is out to prove a point, after missing out on Springbok selection while his back-row partner, Blitzbokke stalwart, Kwagga Smith, will want to continue where he left off against the Kings, after scoring a hat-trick of tries last weekend.

Prediction: This will be a close contest but although the Pumas are a strong side, the Lions should win this by seven!

The teams:

Golden Lions: 15 Ruan Combrinck, 14 Courtnall Skosan, 13 Harold Vorster, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Sampie Mastriet/Anthony Volmink, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Ruaan Lerm, 7 Kwagga Smith, 6 Jaco Kriel (c), 5 Martin Muller, 4 Franco Mostert, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Jacques van Rooyen.
Replacements: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 Ruan Dreyer, 18 MB Lusaseni, 19 Steph de Wit, 20 Lohan Jacobs, 21 Stokkies Hanekom, 22 Jaco van der Walt.

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 Lambert Groenewald, 7 Uzair Cassiem, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Marius Coetzer, 4 Giant Mtyanda, 3 De-Jay Terblanché, 2 Frank Herne, 1 Khwezi Mona.
Replacements: 16 Francois du Toit, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Jason-Colin Fraser, 19 Jaco Bouwer, 20 Reynier van Rooyen, 21 Justin van Staden, 22 Hoffmann Maritz

Date: Friday, August 14
Venue: Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Kick-off: 19:10 local (17:10 GMT)
Referee: Stuart Berry
Assistant referees: Ben Crouse, Oregopotse Rametsi
Television match official: Johan Greeff