Currie Cup

Pumas to defend unbeaten Currie Cup record

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Pumas coach Jimmy Stonehouse says his team intend to defend their undefeated record at the Puma Stadium in Witbank on Friday night and qualify for promotion to next season’s Absa Currie Cup Premier Division.

The 2009 First Division champions host the Boland Cavaliers in their second and final promotion/relegation match and must defeat their Wellington opponents to be promoted to the Premier Division next season.

The Cavaliers defeated the Pumas 36-35 at the Boland Stadium in Wellington last Saturday, but Stonehouse insists that his team can change their fortunes at home in Witbank.

“We are undefeated at home and we’d like to use that to our advantage,” said Stonehouse.

“If we don’t qualify for the Premier Division, it will be a huge disappointment, but we’re not even thinking about that at this stage.
 
Our focus is to win the match and to earn promotion, that’s the only thing on our minds at the moment.

“We didn’t play well last week and we’d like to rectify that on Friday.”

Stonehouse has made only one change to his squad that were defeated by the Cavaliers last Saturday for their Promotion/ Relegation match against Boland.

The starting XV which narrowly lost to the Boland in the first fixture was retained for the return match.

Reserve scrumhalf Hendrik van der Nest has been left out of the match-day-22 and has been replaced by Juan Visser.
 
Van der Nest has not recovered from a leg injury and Visser, who plays most of his rugby at centre, will give the hosts more options on the bench.

The Boland Cavaliers director of rugby Chester Williams has made three changes to his side for the Witbank promotion/relegation clash.

At scrumhalf Danie van der Merwe replaces Marnus Hugo, Junior Bester returns to the starting line up and will don the No 8 jersey while Hayden Groepes also earns a start on the wing, in place of Wendal Wehr.

“It’s always tough playing in Witbank due to the altitude factor, but I am confident that the team selected will be able to do the job on Friday,” said Williams.

Meanwhile, the SWD Eagles coach Johann Lerm is confident his team can defeat the Leopards in the second promotion/relegation match played at Outeniqua Park this weekend.
 
The Leopards defeated the George side 47-42 in the first match last Saturday.

“The guys did well last weekend and we now know that we can defeat the Leopards when we host them on Friday for the final promotion/relegation match,” said Lerm.

“We also can’t wait to play in front of our home crowd in George this time as we know we can do it. But before that, we will have to keep our feet on the ground and concentrate on the big task ahead.”

Lerm has kept faith in his side that were defeated in Potchefstroom last Saturday and named an unchanged team for Friday evening’s match in George.
 
SWD Eagles fullback Bevin Fortuin, who will captain the side, will earn his 100th game for the George outfit on Friday evening.

The former Springbok, who made his FC debut in 2000, has also played in more than 50 matches for the Vodacom Free State Cheetahs.

Leopards coach Chaka Willemse though made three changes and two further position changes to his team that narrowly defeated the Eagles for this crucial promotion/relegation match.

Captain Wilhelm Koch will have a new flank partner in Bennie Adams who replaces the injured Thabo Mamojele. Rynard Landman returns to the starting line up and replaces Bradley Mockford at lock.

Deon van Rensburg, who will represent the union for a 92nd occasion, returns to the starting line up which results in Jovan Bowles moving out onto the right wing with Danie Dames shifting to fullback.

“We realised that we lost a lot of momentum in the second half due to the amount of penalties we conceded late in the game,” said Willemse.

“We’ve worked on our discipline during the week and hopefully, we won’t give away unnecessary penalties. We’re confident of our chances and hopefully we’ll defeat the Eagles and continue playing our rugby in the Premier Division next season.”

The two teams with the most log points after completion of the two promotion/relegation matches will play in the Currie Cup Premier Division in the following season.

In the event of an equal number of log points, the winner will be determined as follows: 1. The best nett points’ difference i.e. points for minus points against, and if equal, 2. The team who scored the most tries, and if equal, 3. The status quo will remain.

Currie Cup promotion/relegation fixtures:

SWD Eagles vs Platinum Leopards, Outeniqua Park – George, 4pm
Pumas vs Boland Cavaliers, Pumas Stadium – Witbank, 6pm

Teams for the weekend:

SWD Eagles – Bevin Fortuin (c), Norman Nelson, Bobby Joubert, Joe Breytenbach, Baldwin McBean, Ricardo Croy, Dougie Hellmuth, Jaques Engelbrecht, Shawn Raubenheimer, Victor Joubert, Henry Grimes, Lubabalo Mtyanda, Tiaan de Kock, Wayne Bennet, Jaco Terblanche.

Reserves: Junior Leota, Anton van der Westhuisen, Hein Potgieter, Vickus Liebenberg, Jandre Blom, Sinethemba Zweni, Jeandre du Plessis.

Platinum Leopards – Danie Dames, Jovan Bowles, Deon van Rensburg, Basil de Doncker, Shuaib Samaai, Cecil Dumont, Michael Bondesio, RW Kember, Bennie Adams, Wilhelm Koch (c), Draad Linde, Rynard Landman, Os van der Walt, Gavin Williamson, Nardus Lombard.

Reserves: Pellow van der Westhuizen, Divan Kotze, Anthonie Gronum, Christo van Niekerk/Riaan Swanepoel, Theo van Wyk, Clayton Durand, Colin Lloyd.

Pumas – MJ Mentz, Braam Pretorius, Shaun Venter, Hyron Thyse, Allistair Kettledas, Tiaan Marx, Jacques Coetzee, Doppies le Roux, Pieter Meyer, Jaco Bouwer, Marius Coetzer, Eduan van der Walt, Ashley Buys, Hannes Franklin (c), Ronnie Uys.

Reserves: Corne Steenkamp, Dawie Steyn, De Jay Terblanche, Johan van Heerden, Martin Sithole, Juan Visser, Ashwin Scott.

Boland Cavaliers – Justin Peach, Deon Scholtz, Cornal Hendricks, PJ Vermeulen, Hayden Groepes, Elgar Watts, Danie van der Merwe, Junior Bester, Hilton Lobberts, Zandré Jordaan, Rito Hlungwane (c), George Earle, Jacobie Adriaanse, Harry Vermaas, Janro van Niekerk.

Reserves: Clemen Lewis, Michael de Neuilly-Rice, Angelo Brinkhuys, David Hendricks, Marnus Hugo, Dewey Swartbooi, Danré Gerber.

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