Johannesburg - The Pumas would like to prove they are a much
better team than their sixth-place on the Currie Cup log may suggest when they
host the Blue Bulls in Nelspruit on Friday (18:00 kick-off).
The Mpumalanga side could improve on their position from
last year when they ended the season in sixth place.
A bonus-point victory over the Blue Bulls could launch them
into fifth place on the log and would bring some respectability to their
campaign which included three victories and a draw.
Pumas coach MJ Mentz said the team would go all out to
ensure they finish their season in the best possible way by claiming a rare
Blue Bulls scalp.
“We have nothing to lose and we feel we are better than the
16 log points we currently have, so we want to go out and finish on a high
note,” Mentz said.
“We want to go out and play total rugby and the fact that we
don’t have the pressure of a semi-final on us - which is unfortunate - the
pressure is more on the Bulls, who need to get a point out of the match to
claim a home semi-final.”
Mentz bemoaned his side’s inability to finish off
opportunities this season which ultimately cost them in terms of earning the
extra bonus points that could have kept them in the running.
He said the side would nevertheless go out to play positive
rugby by giving the ball some air against the second-placed Blue Bulls.
“We want to throw the ball around and play attractive rugby
and hopefully we can score four tries which is something we’ve been battling to
do this season,” he said.
“We’ve created so many scoring opportunities this season but
we could not finish it off. This cost us tries and didn’t give us bonus points
which could still have put us in contention for a playoff spot.”
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
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