Currie Cup

Pumas aim to tighten their grip on First Division

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Pumas coach Jimmy Stonehouse says the Pumas will be aiming to stretch their lead in the Currie Cup First Division by defeating the Valke on Saturday at 15h00.

The visitors (24 points), who are the only undefeated team in the competition, are in pole position on the log standings and are four points clear of the second placed Griffons (20).

“It’s important that we continue and maintain our focus in the Currie Cup First Division,” said Stonehouse.

“The Valke might be last on the log at the moment, but we’re not taking them lightly at all. We’re undefeated in this competition and we’d like to stay unbeaten by the end of this weekend.

Some of the guys are reaching their peak and it’s important that we don’t slip up. We’ve got a game in hand over most of the other sides, so a win on Saturday would put some nice distance between us and the rest.”

The Valke have not picked up any victories in the First Division yet and will be looking to upset the log-leaders at the Barnard Stadium in Kempton Park. South Western Districts (SWD) Eagles coach Juan Lerm has made four changes to his side that will play the Border Bulldogs in George on Saturday (15h00).

Centre Izak Saayman, winger Bobby Joubert, prop Brood van der Westhuizen and hooker Wayne Bennett have all been given a break from rugby this weekend.

As a result, Lerm has opted for Sinethemba Zweni, who has been selected at centre with Baldwin McBean included on the wing in the changes made to the backline. In the pack, Jaco Terblanche starts at prop with Junior Leota (hooker) set to wear the number two jersey.

“The changes is not because I am underestimating the Border Bulldogs, but because I have all the confidence in the players that is in my squad,” said Lerm.

“The players I have selected have played at this level before and I have no doubts in their ability to perform.”

Border Bulldogs coach David Maidza has also made three changes to his side for the match against the SWD Eagles on Saturday. Reinhard Gerber returns to fullback in place of Thembani Mkokeli.

Zinikho Dumaphi replaces Lolo Waka on the left wing while Matthew Taljaard also earns another start at the expense of Greg van Jaarsveld. In the other First Division match of the weekend, the Mighty Elephants host the Griffons at the EPRU Stadium in Port Elizabeth at 15h00.

Elephants fullback Carl Bezuidenhout has recovered from injury and is back in the Eastern Province team for Saturday’s clash. Bezuidenhout comes in for Ryan Brown, who moves to the bench and is the only change coach Corne Korff has made to the starting line up for their match against the Griffons.

Teams for the weekend:

Valke – Tsepo Kokoali; Wensley Mbanje, Clinton Kayser, Franco Booysen, Theo Rhodes; Martin Thomsen, Alvandre Maart; Reg Muller, Martin Lombard, Calvin Jantjes, Hendrik Knoetze, Bovril de Bruin (c), Thamsanqa Jantjies, BB Hefer, Jacques George.

Reserves: Grant Victor, Dirk van Wyk, Tian Fick, Herman Rens, Ryno Hendrikz, Cirné Uys, Ederies Arendse.

Pumas – MJ Mentz, Braam Pretorius, Tiaan Marx, Shaun Venter, Allistair Kettledas, Valentine van Wyk, Hendrik van der Nest, Christo le Roux, Martin Sithole, Torsten van Jaarsveld, Marius Coetzer, Luan Velthuizen, Ashley Buys, Hannes Franklin, Dawie Steyn.

Reserves: De Jay Terblanche, Eduan van der Walt, Francois van Wyk, Pieter Meyer, Jacques Coetzee, Juan Visser, Hyron Thyse.

SWD Eagles – Bevin Fortuin (c), Norman Nelson, Sinethemba Zweni, Joe Breytenbach, Baldwin McBean; Gaffie du Toit, Jandré Blom; Jody Burch, Shawn Raubenheimer, Victor Joubert, Henry Grimes, Wickus Liebenberg, Tiaan de Kock, Junior Leota, Jaco Terblanche.

Reserves: Wayne Bennett, Wickus Harmse, Brood van der Westhuizen, Jacques Engelbrecht, Ricardo Croy, Izak Saayman, Bobby Joubert.

Border Bulldogs – Reinhard Gerber, Ghafoer Luckan, Dumisani Matyeshana, Chumani Booi, Zinikho Dumaphi, Clifford Hodgson, Yongama Mkaza, Solly Tyibilika, Dumisani Meslane, Gareth Krause (c), Andries Kruger, Samora Fihlani, Buhle Mxunyelwa, Mathew Taljard, Patrick Mulamba.

Reserves: Siyabonga Mxunyelwa, Lonwabo Mtimka, Sokhana Mkona, Bonga Mntunjani, Morne Adams, Andisa Gqobo, Jeffrey Taljard.

Mighty Elephants – Carl Bezuidenhout, Rocco Jansen, Siviwe Magaba, De Wet Barry (c), Howard Noble, Wesley Dunlop, Marlon Lewis, Lubabalo Mzwakali, Jacques Potgieter, Enoch Panya, Rauhan van Jaarsveld, Andries Smit, Raoul Larson, Herkie Liebenberg, Pumlani Nodikida.

Reserves: Robbie Dyer, Sangoni Mxoli, Yves Bashiya, Warren Whiteley, Chad Erskine, Ryan Brown, Alipate Fatafehi.

Griffons – Cecil Afrika; Roelof Steyn, Werner Griesel, Thabang Molefe, Fabian Juries; Kennedy Tsimba, Gerrie Odendaal; Nicky Steyn (c), Marnus Briedenhann, Albert Parsons, Gys Briedenhann, Windpomp van Rooyen, Kobus Calldo, Herschol Johnson, Sarel Louw.

Reserves: Gert Erasmus, Sewes Oosthuizen, Kevin Stevens, Shaun Botha, Hugo Kleynhans, Eddie Fredericks, Darryl Coeries.

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