After a bye week in the SuperSport Rugby Challenge, the Steval Pumas are on their way to Namibia to take on the Windhoek Draught Welwitschias this Saturday. The Mpumalanga team are intent on handing another dose of Puma power to their opponents, who they thrashed 64-9 in Kempton Park last month.
Although currently third in the North Conference log behind the Xerox Golden Lions and the Vodacom Blue Bulls, a win against the Namibians will put the Steval Pumas well into contention for a place in the quarter-finals.
Before the bye week, the Steval Pumas lost 35-25 to the Xerox Golden Lions in a bruising encounter at Emirates Airline Park. Coach Brent Janse van Rensburg said that, after the break, the team is feeling mentally and physically refreshed for the rest of the competition.
“The guys have had a nice break, but we aren’t taking the upcoming game lightly. We won’t be confusing confidence with arrogance. We need to focus completely on getting the win because it’s reaching crunch-time in the tournament,” said Janse van Rensburg.
Janse van Rensburg stressed that it will be important not to concede turnovers this weekend.
“They score most of their tries from turnover ball and scrums. We need to protect our set-piece effectively and not give them those opportunities to pounce on. Then we can build on the momentum and start notching up points,” he said.
The coach added that the team’s error rate was too high against the Xerox Golden Lions.
“We need to be more effective and reduce our error rate. I’m expecting all the players to work as hard as ever,” he said.
Team changes this week will include the return of Jacques Kotze in place of De-Jay Terblanche at prop, Tazz Fuzani in place of Jannie Stander at lock, and Jerome Pretorius’s first start of the season at wing after recovering from injury. Gerrit Smit, Francois Kleinhans, and Mark Pretorius make their first appearance for the Pumas this weekend and take their place on the bench as replacement utility back, forward and hooker respectively.
On Friday, the Steval Pumas will also be keeping a keen eye on Kempton Park for the other North Conference clash of the week – the Xerox Golden Lions hosted by the Hino Falcons.
The match against the Windhoek Draught Welwitschias kicks off at 14:00 and will be televised on SuperSport 1. Be sure not to miss this exciting game.