Cape Town - It has not been easy going for the Pumas in the Currie Cup this season - four losses from four games bringing them crashing down to earth after the high of qualifying for the Premier Division this year.
The Nelspruit-based side does, however, have five bonus points to boast after having scored four tries in three of their encounters and having lost by less than seven points twice.
It leaves them second-bottom of the Currie Cup log, four points ahead of the struggling EP Kings and with a game in hand.
The constant accumulation of losing bonus points shows that the Pumas are not far off the pace, and last weekend's 25-22 loss at Boland would have hurt considering that the Pumas converted just once from four attempts.
They have four matches left to start getting some reward for their efforts, but it doesn't get any easier.
The Pumas host the Blue Bulls this Saturday before traveling to Western Province and then hosting the Cheetahs - all tough encounters against the competition's big boys.
The final day of the season sees the Pumas host the Kings, but they will be desperate to have registered a win by then.
Now, in the build-up to the Bulls game this weekend, young 34-year-old coach MJ Mentz has a strong message for the team's supporters.
"We have had a rough start to the Currie Cup and want to
apologise to our fans for not living up to expectations," Mentz said.
"We want to assure
everyone that we are working extremely hard to reverse the mistakes we are
making so that we can bounce back in the competition.
"While we know you have
been understandably disappointed with our current track record of losses, I am
confident and optimistic about the future because I see the fierce commitment
of our players and coaching staff and am impressed by what I know is going on
behind the scenes."
Mentz called on the team's supporters to get behind the side, starting with a strong attendance at Mbombela Stadium this weekend.
"We really appreciate each and every one of you and need you
to be at the stadium for our next two home games," he said.
"We would really appreciate
hearing your voices for the whole 80 minutes and need your energy, passion and
support. We want this win with everything we have. Hopefully the team selected
to play on Saturday can give you something to be proud of."
Kick-off on Saturday is at 19:10.