Johannesburg - After the Golden Lions put them to the sword over the weekend, the Pumas will look to get their Currie Cup campaign back on track when they travel to Port Elizabeth where they will face the EP Kings on Friday (19:00 kick-off).
Pumas coach MJ Mentz admits it will not be an easy task against a Kings side that came close to upsetting the Sharks in Durban last weekend.
The Kings turned in a gutsy performance against the KwaZulu-Natal side before going down 33-25 at Kings Park.
“The Kings in PE is never easy and last year’s match didn’t go well for us, we won’t underestimate them and they have shown their character against the Sharks,” Mentz said in Nelspruit on Wednesday.
“If they hold onto the ball they are dangerous on attack so we know we have a tough task at hand.
“It is a must win for us and we want to get our season back on track following Friday’s defeat to the Lions.”
After a promising start to the Currie Cup competition where they upset the Sharks in Nelspruit, the Pumas were derailed in their 44-27 defeat to the Golden Lions in Johannesburg last weekend.
In the corresponding fixture in 2013 the Pumas suffered a narrow 26-25 defeat to the Eastern Cape side.
Mentz made three changes to the forward pack with lock Rudi Mathee fully recovering from a shoulder injury that kept him out of contention since the start of the competition.
He will replace Giant Mtyanda, who will shift to the bench, with prop Corne Fourie also receiving his first start.
Fourie will be scrumming down on the loosehead with Khwezi Mona shifting to tighthead in the place of De-Jay Terblanche.
Jason-Colin Fraser earns a starting berth at No 8 in place of Lambert Groenewald.
Mentz kept his backline unchanged for the third consecutive week as he hopes they would get more ball to play with.
“Our backline didn’t really get an opportunity to show what they can do on the attack and I have confidence in the backline and that is why I’ve kept it unchanged,” he said.
“I hope with the game we want to play against the Kings that our backline comes to their right giving the ball some width.”
15 Scott van Breda, 14 Siyanda Grey, 13 Ronnie Cooke, 12 JP du Plessis, 11 Luther Obi, 10 Karlo Aspeling, 9 Enrico Acker, 8 Tim Agaba, 7 Jacques Engelbrecht, 6 Luke Watson (captain), 5 Cornell Hess, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Tom Botha, 2 Martin Ferreira, 1 Schalk Ferreira
Substitutes: 16 Lizo Gqoboka, 17 Edgar Marutlulle, 18 Simon Kerrod, 19 Stefan Willemse, 20 Thembelani Bholi, 21 Kevin Luiters, 22 Hansie Graaff
15 JW Bell, 14 Bernado Botha, 13 Jerome Pretorius, 12 Stefan Watermeyer (captain), 11 Rosco Spekman, 10 JC Roos, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Jason-Colin Fraser, 7 Uzair Cassiem, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Marius Coetzer, 4 Rudi Mathee, 3 Khwezi Mona, 2 Frank Herne, 1 Corne Fourie.
Substitutes: 16 Francois du Toit, 17 De-Jay Terblanche, 18 Giant Mtyanda, 19 Jaco Bouwer, 20 Reynier van Rooyen, 21 Justin van Staden, 22 Hoffmann Maritz