Griquas boss Pote Human believes Friday's play-off clash with the Pumas could be the most important game his players will ever play.
Griquas boss Pote Human believes Friday's Currie Cup promotion/relegation clash with the Pumas could be the most important game his players will ever play.
The first of two games to decide next year's sixth contender in the Premier Division of the competition will be vital for Human's side, as a victory at home could make it much easier for the Kimberley side next week in Nelspruit.
“This is surely our most important game of the season, if not the last couple of years,” said Human ahead of the game.
“We simply cannot afford a loss at our home ground to the Pumas. That will put us in a very difficult situation that we really don't want to be in.
“To beat the Pumas in Nelspruit will be a huge ask. Therefore we need to produce the goods on Friday.”
Griquas are under pressure to perform at home, having struggled to do so throughout this year's Currie Cup competition.
Their only success was against the Sharks in the first round of the group stages.
Since that victory, Human has been left frustrated, as his team did not manage a single win for the rest of the tournament, both home and away.
“We haven't had the best season, while the Pumas are having one of their best,” added Human.
“So the pressure is on us. The guys have been focused the whole week and we are positive that they will do their best on the day.”
In contrast, the Pumas are on an unbeaten run of 16 games and head into the promotion matches confident of their chances.
“The games against Griquas will be even tougher than the final of the First Division was against the EP Kings,” said Pumas coach Jimmy Stonehouse.
“We've come to know Griquas as a very physical side and we expect as much in Kimberley. They also have a very strong scrum and we have put in hard yards to challenge them there.”
While the match-up between Griquas Springbok wing Willie le Roux and the Pumas flyer Rosco Speckman will be closely watched, the biggest battle is expected in the scrums.
Griquas' front row of Steph Roberts, Ryno Barnes and Lourens Adriaanse will be out to dominate the Pumas' Corne Fourie, Frank Herne and Ivann Espag.
Another big tussle will be in midfield, where former Griquas players Stefan Watermeyer and Wilmaure Louw will want to get the Pumas on the front foot with their sniping runs.
Griquas' centre paring of Jean Stemmet and impressive youngster Howard Mnisi should, however, pose a formidable threat to the visitors' chances.
Prediction: Although they failed to win a game in Kimberley during the regular season, Griquas were competitive in most of their matches their this season, against much stronger opposition than the Pumas. The visitors will put up a fight but Griquas will win by seven points!
Griquas: 15 Gouws Prinsloo, 14 Willie le Roux, 13 Jean Stemmet, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Rocco Jansen, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Marnus Hugo, 8 Burger Schoeman, 7 RJ Liebenberg, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Jaco Nepgen, 4 Rynard Landman, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Ryno Barnes (c), 1 Steph Roberts.
Replacements: 16 Matt Dobson, 17 Janro van Niekerk, 18 Patrick O'Brein, 19 Carel Greeff, 20 Jacques Coetzee, 21 JP Nel, 22 Nico Scheepers.
Pumas: 15 Coenie van Wyk, 14 JW Bell, 13 Wilmaure Louw, 12 Stefan Watermeyer, 11 Rosco Speckman, 10 Carl Bezuidenhout, 9 Francois de Klerk, 8 RW Kember, 7 Renaldo Bothma, 6 Corne Steenkamp (captain), 5 Eduan Van Der Walt, 4 Rudi Matthee, 3 Ivann Espag, 2 Frank Herne, 1 CornÃ© Fourie.
Replacements: 16 Francois du Toit, 17 Vincent Koch, 18 De-Jay Terblanche, 19 Lubabalo Mtyanda, 20, Uzair Cassiem, 21 JC Roos, 22 Dewald Pretorius.
Date: Friday, 18 October
Venue: GWK Park, Kimberley
Kick-off: 19.10 (18:10 BST, 17.10 GMT)
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan
Assistant referees: Lourens van der Merwe, Francois de Bruin
Television match official: Johan Greeff