Pretoria - The Pumas may have nothing to lose in their final Currie Cup match of the season, but stand in the Blue Bulls' way of clinching a home semi-final when they meet in Nelspruit on Friday.
The Pretoria side will be travelling to the Mpumalanga capital with the goal of claiming a home semi-final with a victory while the Pumas can no longer advance to the playoffs.
Blue Bulls coach Nollis Marais said although the Pumas were no longer in contention they would still be a difficult side to beat.
“The Pumas are dangerous in general whether they are playing for something or not, they are a good side,” Marais said on Wednesday.
“They are out of the competition but I don’t think that would matter, they would always want to beat the Blue Bulls.”
The Pumas are potentially a banana peel for the Bulls, with their 22-21 victory at the same venue in 2010 a stark reminder of this.
The home side may not have been as effective with the ball in hand as they have been in the past but Marais believed they still posed a real threat on attack.
“They always give the ball air, they will be physical up front and they will be running the ball from everywhere,” he said.
“They did it over the weekend in those last 20 minutes against the Cheetahs they gave the ball air.
“But they are a good balanced side, they can scrum you, they can maul you and they can out work you so we need to make sure we don’t give them ball to work with.”
Meanwhile, Bulls flank Deon Stegmann returns to the starting line-up after he was a late withdrawal from the team that beat the EP Kings at Loftus Versfeld last weekend.
Jacques du Plessis, who was forced to the side of the scrum will start at lock again next to Marvin Orie, with RG Snyman dropping back to the bench.
15 Hoffmann Marnitz, 14 Bernado Botha, 13 Jerome Pretorius, 12 Stefan Watermeyer (captain), 11 Rosco Speckman, 10 Justin van Staden, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Jason-Colin Fraser, 7 Uzair Cassiem, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Rudi Mathee, 4 Giant Mtyanda, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Francois du Toit, 1 Corne Fourie
Substitutes: 16 Frank Herne, 17 De-Jay Terblanché, 18 Marius Coetzer, 19 Dylan Petersen, 20 Reynier van Rooyen, 21 Hennie Skorbinski, 22 Wilmaure Louw
15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Dries Swanepoel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Arno Botha, 7 Lappies Labuschagne (captain), 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Jacques du Plessis, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 Pierre Schoeman
Substitutes: 16 Corniel Els, 17 Werner Kruger, 18 RG Snyman, 19 Ruan Steenkamp, 20 Ivan van Zyl, 21 Louis Fouché, 22 William Small-Smith