Currie Cup

Ellis Park set for thriller

2014-09-18 13:24
Jimmy Stonehouse (Gallo)

Johannesburg - Another spectacle is on the cards at Ellis Park Stadium on Friday night when the Golden Lions and the Pumas face each other in a Currie Cup clash.

Both sides have the ability and the appetite to play an expansive style of rugby while the battle for second place on the log will add an extra edge to the encounter.

The opposing camps will need to spread the ball wide and the battle between the two packs is predicted to be the deciding factor.

"We like to keep the ball upfront and we shift the ball wide when we feel comfortable to do so," Pumas coach Jimmy Stonehouse said.

"We will have to put pressure on the Lions in the lineouts and try to keep the ball among the forwards. We have a pack of forwards who can dominate while they have a pack that plays wide."

The Lions occupy second place on the Currie Cup log holding a slender one-point lead over the Pumas in third place.

A result favouring the visitors could see the Mpumalanga side move into second place, while the Lions will be keen to further cement their place near the top of the table with an eye on a home semi-final.

The Pumas have been the surprise package this season as they have taken to top-flight rugby with the greatest of ease after two years in the First Division.

They have won four of their six matches this season, including a home victory over defending champions the Sharks and beating the Free State Cheetahs home and away.

However, Stonehouse's charges slipped against Griquas in Kimberley last weekend, losing 27-31.

Lions coach Johan Ackermann remained cautious of the Premier Division rookies and believed last weekend's result was not a true reflection of their abilities.

"The Pumas are a well-balanced side and that is why they are the surprise this season. Their forwards give them good possession and their backline has Super Rugby experience with the X-factor of someone like Rosco Speckman," he said.

The Lions were in rampant form last weekend as they toppled Western Province, ending their unbeaten streak this season with a 35-33 victory at Ellis Park.

The visitors from the Lowveld will be mindful not to allow the match to unravel. The Lions demonstrated against Province that they flourish when the game opens up.

Pumas assistant coach MJ Mentz said they had made plans to close down the hosts defensively and ensure they slowed their possession.

"The Lions like to play with width and they like to make the game loose especially in the offloads in the tackle," Mentz said.

"So we worked on getting the defenders closer to each other and we must tackle the ball, that is our main aim."

Read more on:    golden lions  |  pumas  |  currie cup  |  jimmy stonehouse  |  rugby

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