Preview: Pumas v Griquas

Date published: August 25 2016

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Griquas will be determined to continue with their fine recent form when they take on the Pumas in Nelspruit on Saturday.

The men from Kimberley caused a huge upset at their home ground when they beat the defending champions, the Golden Lions, last weekend. That 30-24 victory was a momentous one as it was the Lions first defeat since 2015 after they finished their 2016 campaign unbeaten.

It was also a warning to the Currie Cup's other heavyweights and showed that their performance in the tournament's qualifiers – where they finished second – was no fluke.

This weekend they face a Pumas team who are languishing at the bottom of the table after losing their two previous matches.

The Pumas had a bye last weekend but lost 33-10 to the Sharks in their opener before the Golden Lions registered a 68-24 thrashing against them in Round Two.

Pumas head coach MJ Mentz has rung the changes to his starting line-up that lost against the Lions. Namibia international number eight Renaldo Bothma takes over the captaincy from Hugo Kloppers who has been replaced in the run-on side by Jannie Stander.

In other changes to the pack, Frank Herne takes over from Francois du Toit at hooker while De-Jay Terblanche comes in for Kwezi Mona at loosehead prop.

Amongst the backs, Devon Williams replaces Justin van Staden at fullback, While Bernardo Botha starts on the right wing in place of Jean-Paul Lewis who shifts to the other wing where he replaces Marcello Sampson.

The final change sees Leighton van Wyk starting at inside centre where he takes over from Marlou van Niekerk.

Griquas loosehead prop Steph Roberts will break the record for most appearances for the Kimberley-based union on Saturday. Roberts is set to play his 162nd match for Griquas.

The 31-year-old wants his team to build on their victory over the Golden Lions.

"The win doesn’t make us the best team in the competition," he told the MyPlayers website.

"Just like the loss against the Sharks doesn’t mean we’re the worst team in the competition.

After that win over the Lions, Griquas head coach has made minimal changes to his starting line-up. Sias Koen shifts from lock to the blindside flank while Mzwanele Zito comes in to the second row.

The last time these teams met: Griquas proved too strong for the Pumas when these sides met in their Currie Cup qualifier in Kimberley on July 7, claiming a 34-17 win. AJ Coertzen scored two of Griquas' five tries and Clinton Swart contributed 12 points via two penalties and three conversions.

Prediction: Griquas will be brimming with confidence after their win over the champions but the Pumas will be no pushovers on their home turf. It should be a close one but Griquas will win by three points.

The teams:

Pumas: 15 Devon Williams, 14 Bernado Botha, 13 Hennie Skorbinski, 12 Leighton van Wyk, 11 Jean-Paul Lewis, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Emile Temperman, 8 Renaldo Bothma (c), 7 Nardus van der Walt, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Jannie Stander, 4 Wiehan Hay, 3 Louis Albertse, 2 Frank Herne, 1 De-Jay Terblanche
Replacements: 16 Simon Westraadt, 17 Jacques Kotze, 18 Hugo Kloppers, 19 Carel Greeff, 20 Kevin Luiters, 21 Marlou van Niekerk, 22 Hoffmann Maritz

Griquas: 15 AJ Coertzen (c), 14 JW Jonker, 13 Jonathan Francke, 12 Clinton Swart, 11 Alshaun Bock, 10 Elgar Watts, 9 Rudi van Rooyen, 8 Jason Fraser, 7 Sias Koen, 6 Wendal Wehr, 5 Jonathan Janse van Rensburg, 4 Mzwanele Zito, 3 Stephan Kotze, 2 AJ le Roux, 1 Steph Roberts
Replacements: 16 Marius Fourie, 17 Liam Hendricks, 18 Hilton Lobberts, 19 Steve Meiring, 20 Renier Botha, 21 André Swarts, 22 Eric Zana

Date: Friday, August 26
Venue: Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
Kick-off: 19:10 (17.:10 GMT)
Referee: Stuart Berry
Assistant Referees: Lourens van der Merwe, Alex Jonker
TMO: Willie Vos

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