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Pumas beef up scrum for Griquas

Wed, 16 Oct 2013 14:59
Ivann-espag Jimmy-stonehouise-points Jimmy-stonehouse-smiles
Griquas are one of the teams with the best scrums in the Currie Cup
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Pumas coach Jimmy Stonehouse beefed up his scrum ahead of the first match in their Currie Cup promotion-relegation series against Griquas.

The Pumas travel to Kimberley on Friday and will host Griquas in Nelspruit a week later, with the winner - based on their log position after the two-match series - winning the right to play in the Currie Cup competition next year.

Despite winning the First Division title when, they beat the Eastern Province Kings 53-30 last Friday, Stonehouse knows his team will have to raise the bar considerably in their next two matches.

And the scrums remain their biggest concern.

As a result former Ivann Espag strongman comes in for De-Jay Terblanche at tighthead in the only change to the starting XV, while Uzair Cassiem comes in on the bench in the only other change.

Espag, who previously played for the Blue Bulls and Boland, made 34 appearances from Griquas between 2010 and 2012, before heading to Nelspruit this year.

The Pumas mentor is well aware that tempo will be much higher than what it was for his team in the First Division when they take on Griquas.

And he also expects the rucks to be "a lot different" from the way First Division team approach them.

"The First Division [teams] put a lot more players into the rucks," Stonehouse told this website.

However, it is in the scrums where he expects the biggest onslaught.

"They [Griquas] are one of the teams with the best scrums in the Currie Cup competition," he said, adding: "It didn't matter if it was against Western Province or the Sharks, they always scrummed well.

"We believe that is an aspect where they will attack us, especially after we struggled [in the scrums against the EP Kings] last week."

Stonehouse said they brought in world-renowned scrum coach and World Cup-winning former Springbok prop Balie Swart to help them out this week.

"We know Griquas will target us in the scrums," the Pumas coach told this website.

"That is why we brought Ivann Espag in, as he is a powerful scrummager.

"We do prefer a more mobile prop, but we have brought him.

"We feel if we can get the upper hand in that regard we will be fine, as we will be able to hold our own in other aspects of the game."

Stonehouse said despite his team's desire to play an attractive brand of attacking rugby, they may tone it down a touch because it is a play-off match.

"Our approach will be: Make as few mistakes as possible, play in the right areas of the field and take the points when they are available," he said.

"We can't play a high-risk game - it is a play-off game and if we want to get to the top [Currie Cup status] we have to do the right things at the right time."

Pumas: 15 Coenie van Wyk, 14 JW Bell, 13 Wilmaure Louw, 12 Stefan Watermeyer, 11 Rosco Speck man, 10 Carl Bezuidenhout, 9 Francois de Klerk, 8 RW Kember, 7 Renaldo Bothma, 6 Corne Steenkamp (captain), 5 Eduan Van Der Walt, 4 Rudi Matthee, 3 Ivann Espag, 2 Frank Herne, 1 Corné Fourie.
Replacements: 16 Francois du Toit, 17 Vincent Koch, 18 De-Jay Terblanche, 19 Lubabalo Mtyanda, 20, Uzair Cassiem, 21 JC Roos, 22 Dewald Pretorius.

Date: Friday, October 18
Venue: GWK Park, Kimberley
Kick-off: 19.10 (17.10 GMT)
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan
Assistant referees: Lourens van der Merwe, Francois de Bruin
TMO: Johan Greeff

By Jan de Koning

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