Preview: Pumas v Griquas

Date published: August 21 2014

There will be plenty at stake when Pumas host Griquas in their Currie Cup tie at the Mbombela Stadium on Friday.

One of the goals the Pumas have set themselves this season is to collect the full complement of log points whenever they play a match at home, although there will be more at stake when they host Griquas in the Round Three Currie Cup tie at the Mbombela Stadium on Friday.

The last time these sides met was in this year's Vodacom Cup semi-final when Griquas surprised all as they ended the impeccable seven-match unbeaten streak the Mpumalanga based squad enjoyed at the time.

It marked a rare loss at home for Jimmy Stonehouse's men who have since shrugged off that defeat by proving in their Currie Cup opener against the Cheetahs that they are able to produce the magic when playing in front of their rapidly expanding support base.

For this contest Stonehouse has made a few tactical switches to his side.

The introduction of Heinrich Steyl at full-back has resulted in the Pumas having two specialist scrum-halves in their line-up – as opposed to only a utility back which was the case during last week's loss to the Sharks in Durban.

Stonehouse has also tweaked his pack in anticipation of a tough physical encounter up front although the team's captain, Corne Steenkamp gave his assurance that the switches would not have a significant impact on the way they approach this contest.

“We know what to expect from Griquas and the changes that were made to our side was done to ensure we achieve our goal of collecting five points when we play at home,” said Steenkamp.

Griquas have also made changes of their own as they look to bank their first win of the competition with coach Hawies Fourie handing four men the opportunity to get their first taste of Currie Cup rugby.

Top of the list, however, is the introduction of UCT fly-half Dean Grant who will take over the decision making responsibilities from the experienced Francois Brummer.

Brummer will start at full-back for this contest, but is likely to be in close proximity to Grant when his team receives quality front-foot possession.

Griquas showed against the Cheetahs last week that they are more than capable of creating scoring opportunities, but, like their hosts, will be out to prove that they can cope when placed under pressure.

Prediction: With both sides willing to throw caution to the wind, there should be points a plenty. Home field advantage is, however, likely to come into play. The Pumas should bank a seven point win.

Pumas: 15 Heinrich Steyl, 14 Ruwellyn Isbell, 13 JW Jonker, 12 Stefan Watermeyer, 11 Jerome Pretorius, 10 Justin van Staden, 9 Reynier van Rooyen, 8 Renaldo Bothma, 7 Uzair Cassiem, 6 Corne Steenkamp (capt), 5 Giant Mtyanda, 4 Frikkie Spies, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Francois du Toit, 1 Corne Fourie. Replacements: 16 Frankie Herne, 17 Dejay Terblanche, 18 Marius Coetzer, 19 Jaco Bouwer, 20 Dylan Frylinck, 21 JC Roos, 22 Rosko Specman.

Griquas: 15 Francois Brummer, 14 Ederies Arendse, 13 Jonathan Francke, 12 Wayne Stevens (capt), 11 PJ Vermeulen, 10 Dean Grant, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Carel Greeff, 7 Ruan Lerm, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Jaco Nepgen, 4 Jonathan Adendorf, 3 Ewald van der Westhuizen, 2 Martin Bezuidenhout, 1 Steph Roberts. Replacements: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Maks van Dyk, 18 Hugo Kloppers, 19 RJ Liebenberg, 20 Abrie Griesel, 21 Doppies la Grange, 22 Niel Marais.

Date: Friday, August 22
Kick-off: 19:10 local (18:10 BST, 17:10 GMT)
Venue: Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
Referee: Quinton Immelman
Assistant referees: Jaco van Heerden, Sieg van Staden
TMO: Johan Greeff

by Michael Mentz