Preview: Golden Lions v Pumas

Date published: September 18 2014

Two of the Currie Cup's most entertaining teams go head-to-head when the Golden Lions host the Pumas in Johannesburg on Friday.

Two of the Currie Cup's most entertaining teams go head-to-head when the Golden Lions host the Pumas in Johannesburg on Friday.

The Lions head into this clash on a high after achieving what no other side has managed this season by handing tournament pacesetters Western Province their first defeat last weekend.

Despite their 35-33 triumph, coach Johan Ackermann is determined to iron out his side'slapses in concentration on defence after they leaked two tries at the death against WP.

“Obviously the game was won but we've had a look at the final six minutes and we don't want to concede tries,” he said.

“At times we conceded stupid penalties where we released the pressure which turned on us.

“We want to be more accurate from first phase attack, so there is always something to improve on.”

That win extend the Lions' unbeaten run on home soil and has narrowed WP's lead at the top of the table. The Lions are now in second spot in the standings while the Pumas are a point adrift in third place.

This weekend will usher in the first round of one-off matches with the Lions facing the Pumas for the first time this season. With second spot on the table at stake and the business end of the competition drawing nearer, Ackermann underlined the importance of this encounter.

“All the teams aim to win their home matches and want to play at home if they make it into the play-offs,” he explained.

“It won't happen when you focus on your opponent… if we can play the rugby we played over the weekend and stick to our processes then it can go well.

“It is a home match and I would expect no excuses from the players in terms of their preparations.”

The Pumas suffered a setback when they lost 31-27 to Griquas in Kimberley last weekend. That was only their second loss of the campaign and they will look to continue their run of upsets in the competition.

Under the guidance of coach Jimmy Stonehouse they have been like a breath of fresh air in the competition. The men from Nelspruit combine a uncompromising physical approach from their forwards with the hard-running style of their backs.

This combination has provided headaches for several teams and they have already beaten the Free State Cheetahs twice, the Sharks and Griquas.

The Pumas received a timely boost ahead of this match when scrum-half Dylon Frylinck was declared fit and named in their starting line-up after recovering from a knee injury.

Frylinck's inclusion is the only change to the run-on side that lost to Griquas. He replaces Reynier van Rooyen, who will give cover off the bench on Friday.

Prediction: This should be an entertaining clash but homeground advantage and the experience will swing things in the Lions' favour. Golden Lions to win by seven points!

Golden Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe (c), 12 Stokkies Hanekom, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Jaco van der Walt, 9 Ricky Schroeder, 8 Willie Britz, 7 Kwagga Smith, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Martin Muller, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Armand van der Merwe, 1 Schalk van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Malcolm Marx/Willie Wepener, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Julian Redelinghuys, 19 Derick Minnie, 20 Warwick Tecklenburg, 21 Mark Richards, 22 Howard Mnisi.

Pumas: 15 Coenie van Wyk, 14 Jerome Pretorius, 13 Jacobus Jonker, 12 Stefan Watermeyer, 11 Rosco Speckman, 10 Justin van Staden, 9 Dylon Frylinck, 8 Renaldo Bothma, 7 Uzair Cassiem, 6 Corne Steenkamp (captain), 5 Lubabalo Mtyanda, 4 Frikkie Spies, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Francois du Toit, 1 Corne Fourie.
Replacements: Replacements: 16 Frankie Herne, 17 DeJay Terblanche, 18 Marius Coetzer, 19 Jaco Bouwer, 20 Reynier van Rooyen, 21 Juan-Claude Roos, 22 John-Wessel Bell.

Date: Friday, September 19
Venue: Ellis Park
Kickoff: 19:10 (local, 17:10 GMT)
Referee: Jaco van Heerden
Assistant Referees: Stuart Berry, Stefan Breytenbach
TMO: Willie Vos