WP brace for Pumas' powerful pack

Thu, 14 Sep 2017 08:40

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Western Province are wary of the threat the Pumas pose at the breakdown ahead of the crucial Currie Cup clash in Nelspruit.

The Pumas' narrow 25-27 home defeat against the table-topping Sharks is a true testament of how difficult it is to head to Nelspruit and pick up a win.

Western Province are currently third in the Currie Cup standings, while the Pumas occupy fifth with 18 points.

Province's backline has been in stellar form, especially with the addition of Craig Barry at fullback, the likes BlitzBoks superstars Ruhan Nel and fit-again Seabelo Senatla in the starting XV - and the young Damian Willemse has seemed to just morph into an amazing flyhalf with every outing.

However, with every match comes different challenges and Western Province captain Chris van Zyl admits that heading into the Pumas encounters they are wary of the Nelspruit-based side's mauling system and their breakdown threat.

"The Pumas have a really sufficient mauling system and they are a real danger at the breakdown," Van Zyl told reporters.

"Throughout the week we have been working on those two factors. I feel like we have to curb that early in the game to prevent it from becoming a problem as the game progresses," he added.

Meanwhile, head coach John Dobson stated that his decision to pick two props on the bench has little to do with the Pumas' scrum. Instead, the strategic move has more to do with the altitude the Cape Town side is going play at.

"I am not too worried about the Pumas’ scrummaging," Dobson said.

"It's at altitude and we just want to accommodate Jacobus Janse van Rensburg and Alistair Vermaak. I know [20-year-old] Michael Kumbirai is strong enough but to ask him to play his first 80 minutes at altitude is too much for him at tighthead.

"The two props is more about a plan to bring on fresh legs later in the game,"

When asked about the South African Rugby Union's 22-man Currie Cup policy, the coach expressed his concerns.

"I think the Currie Cup should go up to 23-man squad, especially when you consider the player safety aspect and the game's integrity aspect," he explained, adding: “The massive factor is that one of your props has to be a swinger – meaning he has to be able to play tighthead and loosehead.

"For this match, Caylib Oosthuizen is capable of being the swinger, but will cover tighthead while Vermaak is the loosehead,”
"Furthermore, there is also an opportunity for teams to cheat. For example, every team runs the scenario that if you get stuffed up in the scrum teams, just opt for uncontested scrums,"  


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Fri, 29 September 2017
Sharks v Golden Lions 17h00 Durban
Worcester Warriors v Saracens 18h35 Sixways
Newcastle Falcons v London Irish 18h35 Kingston Park
Sale Sharks v Gloucester 19h00 AJ Bell Stadium
Leinster v Edinburgh 19h35 RDS Arena
Glasgow Warriors v Treviso 19h35 Scotstoun Stadium
Scarlets v Connacht 19h35 Parc y Scarlets
Sat, 30 September 2017
Griquas v Free State Cheetahs 12h00 Kimberley
Leicester Tigers v Exeter Chiefs 13h00 Welford Road
Munster v Cardiff Blues 13h30 Thomond Park
Cheetahs v Ospreys 14h00 Bloemfontein
Northampton Saints v Harlequins 14h00 Franklin's Gardens
Wasps v Bath 14h00 Ricoh Arena
Zebre v Ulster 14h35 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
South Africa v Australia 15h05 Bloemfontein
Dragons v Kings 18h35 Rodney Parade
Sun, 01 October 2017
Argentina v New Zealand 22h30 Estadio Jose Amalfitani
Blue Bulls v Western Province 12h30 Loftus Versfeld
Team P W D L Pts
Sharks 10 9 0 1 43
Free State Cheetahs 9 6 0 3 30
Western Province 9 5 0 4 27
Golden Lions 9 4 0 5 25
Pumas 10 4 0 6 24
Blue Bulls 9 3 0 6 20
Griquas 10 2 0 8 16