Nelspruit - Pumas lock Giant Mtyanda believes they are on the right track to achieve their goal of qualifying for the Currie Cup semi-finals.
Last season, the men from Nelspruit started their domestic campaign on an impressive note, winning four of their opening six matches. However, a disappointing finish to the tournament, which included a five-match losing streak, saw them miss out on a top-four place.
This season, the Pumas are determined to qualify for the Currie Cup semi-finals, especially after missing out in 2014.
“We’re happy with the way we’ve progressed so far, but there’s always room for improvement,” Mtyanda told MyPlayers.co.za.
“Coach Jimmy Stonehouse might be gone, but we have good bunch of coaches and a great squad of players, who are all familiar with each other. Everybody is gelling and the synergy is exciting.
“We just need to stick to our plan and ensure we fulfil our potential week in and week out.”
This weekend, the Pumas face the tough challenge of hosting the unbeaten Golden Lions at Mbombela Stadium.
Mtyanda said the players are fired up, especially after suffering a 44-27 loss against the Johannesburg-based union at Ellis Park a fortnight ago.
“We need to have the right mindset when facing the Lions. We know it is an important game, because victory will put us in a very strong position on the log,” said Mtyanda. “The Lions are playing great rugby, but we can get the desired result if we play to strengths and finish our opportunities.
“We were a bit frustrated in wet conditions against the EP Kings in Port Elizabeth last weekend, so we’re looking forward to playing in better conditions at Mbombela Stadium.”
Mtyanda is a leader in the squad as he carries the role of vice-captain up front. He believes his time with the Sharks has benefited his individual development.
“I had a great time with the Sharks during Super Rugby and I definitely learned a lot. It was a great opportunity for me, and I made the most of it,” said Mtyanda.
“The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that you can’t afford to make mistakes at the highest levels. Whether it’s Super Rugby or the Currie Cup, you will be punished if you give the opposition.
“I’m using that experience to better myself on the field, and the players around me. Hopefully, I can inspire my team-mates to a memorable Currie Cup this season.”
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 Giant Mtyanda, 4 Rudi Mathee, 3 Khwezi Mona, 2 Frank Herne, 1 Corne Fourie
Substitutes: 16 Francois du Toit, 17 De-Jay Terblanche, 18 Jannie Stander, 19 Jaco Bouwer, 20 Reynier van Rooyen, 21 Justin van Staden, 22 Hoffmann Maritz
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