Johannesburg – Playing in hellishly hot conditions in their Currie Cup encounter against the Free State Cheetahs, coach MJ Mentz believes the bench will have a massive impact on the game in Nelspruit on Saturday.
The match will be played at 13:15 when the mercury is expected to rise to 32 degrees Celsius.
While the Pumas are used to the hot and humid conditions in the Lowveld they had to prepare for the extreme heat they would face at the time of the kickoff.
“We’ve had good preparations this week where we were trying to get used to the heat in Nelspruit because the match will be played at 13:15 so it is going to be a hot match,” Mentz said on Thursday.
“I think we’ve selected a well-balanced team for the match and we know the bench will have an important impact as the heat will certainly play a role especially in the final 20 minutes.”
Mentz welcomed the return of influential captain Stefan Watermeyer, who missed their clash against Western Province in Capet Town over the weekend thanks to a hamstring injury.
“We are very happy Stefan is back we missed his captaincy last week especially in the second half,” the Pumas mentor said.
“We’ll definitely need his experience, cool and calmness in pressure situations this weekend and defensively he is one of the better defenders on 12.”
The Pumas suffered a 50-19 defeat at the hands of Western Province with their playoff hopes taking a serious knock.
A victory over the fourth-place Cheetahs could see the Mpumalanga side breathe some life into their campaign before their final match of the regular season against the Blue Bulls.
15 John-Wessel Bell, 14 Jerome Pretoius,
13 Hoffmann Maritz, 12 Stefan Watermeyer (captain), 11 Rosko Specman,
10 Justin van Staden, 9 Francois de Klerk, 8 Jason-Colin Fraser, 7 Uzair
Cassiem, 6 Jaco Bouwer, 5 Marius Coetzer, 4 Lubabalo Mtyanda, 3 Vincent
Koch, 2 Frank Herne, 1 Corné Fourie
Substitutes: 16 Francois du
Toit, 17 De-Jay Terblanche, 18 Rudi Mathee, 19 Marnus Schoeman, 20
Reynier van Rooyen, 21 Hennie Skorbinski, 22 Bernardo Botha
Free State Cheetahs: